Social impacts of mini-grids: towards an evaluation methodology

Aran Eales, Luke Walley, Hannah Buckland, Damien Frame, Scott Strachan

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)


The level of investment in mini-grids is limited by a lack of understanding of their social impacts. A paucity of published data exists on the issue, presenting a need for mature, better-integrated monitoring and evaluation methodologies. Such social impact focussed data would provide a critical evidence base for supporting claims of the beneficial effects of mini-grids on the communities they serve. This paper provides a literature review exploring the existing knowledgebase on the social impacts of mini-grids, what methodologies are used to evaluate them, and the extent to which social impact monitoring and evaluation is currently carried out. It finds that although there is a general acceptance of the benefits of rural electrification through mini-grids, it is not often based on empirically measured evidence of mini-grid impact on the general wellbeing or social development of the communities they serve. Existing studies tend to focus more on measuring technical and economic performance of installed systems. Recommendations for a best practice methodology for evaluating the social impact of mini-grids is presented, which will be applied and tested in a variety of development contexts to gain valuable data to inform the sector.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2018
EventIEEE PES Power Africa Conference 2018 - Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 26 Jun 201829 Jun 2018


ConferenceIEEE PES Power Africa Conference 2018
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
CityCape Town


  • mini-grids
  • impact
  • socio-economic indicators


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