This page gives an explanation on how the Mini Grid Builder Tool should be used.

1. Introduction

The tool  is seperate into the 5 major sections:

  • Get started
  • Project
  • Load Profile
  • Financial
  • Report

Each of them will be explained hereafter. Every section apart from “Get started” can only be accessed if a valid user account exists.

2. Get started

In this section, the user can either create a new account, or login with an existing user account, if he already created one earlier.

To create a new user account, it is mandatory to fill in the following fields:

  • Username
  • E-Mail Address
  • Password

All other fields are voluntary, but should be entered so that the entered information later appears on the report.

3. Project

In the project section, new projects can be generated. Every user does have access only to his specific projects. Every project receives a project identifier, consisting out of the country initials, the abbreviation for the selected region and a counting number.

It is important to select the currency here, as this will be used later in the tool for further calculations.

Mandatory fields in this area are:

  • Country
  • County
  • Name of village

To have this information on the report, the other fields should be entered to. When initially logging in, no project is selected. The user first has to go to the “Project” page and select a project ID of an existing project, or create a new project.

4. Load Profile

In this section the user can only enter information, once he has setup an initial project. If a user logs in after being logged out, he first has to select a project ID on the “Project” page, to enter additional load data on the “Load Profile” page.

This page is clustered into 5 sections:

4.1 Customer information

The customer information field is used to enter specific information regarding each interviewed customer of the future minigrid. The mandatory fields are:

  • Name
  • Type of customers

As type of customer can be either selected: Household, business or anchor client. The choice of this is mandatory, as the customers will be clustered in these groups for later analysis.

Additionally the GPS coordinates can be entered, for future matching of the customer data with a mapping tool, e.g. Google Earth. The contact details are to be entered to allow the data collector to contact the person for possible future questions.

4.2 Current Energy Sources

The tool-user can now enter the current energy sources of the customers. All fields are mandatory to enter numbers into. If no solar home system or batteries exist at the customers location, a zero should be entered. The fields and their entry values are described here:

Field name First field value Second field value
Solar home system power Power in Watt
Battery capacity Capacity in Ampere hours Voltage in Volt
Installed generator power Real Power in Watt Reactive Power in Voltampere
Other energy source consumption Consumption in liters per month Diesel fuel or kerosene

4.3 User Electrical Appliances

In this section, the electrical appliances of each customer of the minigrid should be entered. There are nine different pre-defined fields to enter the appliances of each customer:

  1. Light bulbs
  2. Audio
  3. Video
  4. Fan
  5. Fridge
  6. Computers
  7. Mobile phone
  8. Pump/motors
  9. Others

Each of the fileds follow the same pattern, that require the following data to ne entered:

  • Number of appliances
  • Power of each appliance
  • Start / End Time Usage Range 1
  • Start / End Time Usage Range 2

It is mandatory to enter the usage time ranges, as well as the power of each appliance, if a number has been entered.

The time usage ranges are entered in a 24 hour format starting from 0:00 and ending at 24:00.

4.4 Ability to pay

The ability to pay section covers information from each customer, regarding their current ability to pay. All fields, besides the occupation that has informative character, are mandatory. The fields to be entered are:

Field name Field value
Occupation Position of the household owneer
Ability to pay Cost per kWh electricity in US Dollar
Income per month Household income / Business income per month in US Dollar
Current Energy Expenditure Current Energy Expenditure per month in US Dollar

4.5 Willingness to pay

Willingness to pay contains 8 questions that the customer is required to answer. All question answers are mandatory.

Question Answer possibility 1 Answer possibility 2 Answer possibiltiy 3
What is important to you? The cost of electricity The quantitiy of electricity Duration of the supply
What most likely will drive you to connect? Neighbours connected Own need of electricity Low connection fee
Will an electricity mini-grid power improve your life or business somehow? Yes No Do not know
On which base do you think the provision of electricity should be? On Commercial Basis On free basis n/a
Who decides for you to pay for electricity? Myself Boss Elders/family
Do you already have an individual solar system? Yes No Under construction
How happy are you with your current electricity supply? Not happy Very happy Can life with it
Does your solar system cover your current electricity needs? Yes No n/a

5 Financial

The financial page is divided into the following 4 sections:

  1. Financial investment factors
  2. Investment costs
  3. Operating costs
  4. Other Factors

All of the financial factors are mandatory, which is why the fields are filled with default values, that are typical for the required fields.

5.1 Financial investment factors

Field name Field value
 Weighted Average Capital Cost The average cost of the capital for the project
 Annual fuel escalation The increase of the fuel cost in % per year

5.2 Investment costs

Field name Field value
Cost of solar PV system Total cost kilo Watt peak of the solar installation in US Dollar
Overall cost of electrical balance of plant Total cost of all electrical components for the electrical balance of plant and distribution in US Dollar
Cost of batteries Total cost of batteries per kilo Watt hours in US Dollar
Connection cost Connection cost per customer in US Dollar
Cost of diesel generator Cost of the diesel generator per kilo Watt electrical in US Dollar
Additional project cost Other project cost (e.g. SCADA or Fuel Save Controllers) in US Dollar

5.3 Operating costs

Field name Field value
PV plant maintenance
Overall operating cost increase
Annual diesel maintenance cost
Annual plant maintenance – including staff

5.4 Other factors

Other factors that impact the viability of the project are the following two fields:

Field name Field value
Annual increase of demand % of increase per year
Annual PV power output reduction reduction in PV power output in % per year (caused by degradation of the modules)

6 Report

This page shows the results of the calculation. It also allows the user to export the results as a PDF document.