Collaborators University of Edinburgh, ElectriCChain, GSM Association, Lancaster University, Monash University, London School of Economics
Open Lab is involved in this UKRI funded project exploring the potential for distributed ledger technologies to accelerate access to off grid solar energy in Sub-Saharan Africa.
This 24 month research project brings together a team of electrical and electronic engineers, human-computer interaction specialists, and social anthropologists.
Findings currently in development will elaborate local energy exchanges/transactions in rural Tanzania and examine the nature of trust in relations between off grid energy companies and consumers.
The global mobile phone industry has emerged as an important partner in achieving the UN’s goals of sustainable energy access for all in Sub Saharan Africa. Support for mobile enhanced energy services in the region driven by the Groupe Spéciale Mobile Association (GSMA), which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.
The GSMA has identified distributed ledger technologies as a key area of interest with the potential to transform existing business models for decentralised or off grid energy services in sub Saharan Africa and accelerate access to sustainable energy services.
To this end GSMA’s Mobile for Development Utilities division is currently seeking to better understand and evaluate the potential impact, applications, use cases, benefits and costs of distributed ledgers for energy service companies and customers, with the goal of leveraging its strategic partnership with the Department for International Development to resource future trials and to catalyse private sector investment.
Working in partnership with the GSMA’s Mobile for Development Utilities programme and ElectriCChain, developers of the SolarCoin Blockchain, this 24 month research project brings together a team of electrical and electronic engineers, human-computer interaction specialists, and social anthropologists to explore the potential for distributed ledger technologies to accelerate access to off grid solar energy in Sub-Saharan Africa by delinking current business models from existing mobile money payment infrastructures and third parties, creating new models for incentivising and rewarding the installation of off grid solar, and developing new peer-to-peer business models.
Link to funding here.