NREL Partnership Develops Off-Grid Energy Access through Quality Assurance Framework for Mini-Grids

NREL has teamed with the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) and the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID's) Power Africa to develop a Quality Assurance Framework (QAF) for isolated mini-grids.

The QAF lays the foundation for sustainable business models in the mini-grid space by clearly defining the roles and relationship of the various stakeholders. It will provide customers with a guarantee of service that they can afford, power suppliers with a guaranteed rate of return, and investors with confidence about their investments. It also addresses the root challenges of providing quality power to remote consumers through financially viable mini-grids.

NREL supports Power Africa's Beyond the Grid Program by using the mini-grid QAF and NREL's Renewable Energy Integration and Optimization (REopt) decision support model in pilot projects such as in Tanzania, where NREL is providing expertise on renewable energy resource assessments, as well as analysis on the optimization of the mini-grid design.

Support is also provided in coordination with other complementary programs such as the African Development Banks's Green Mini-Grid Program.


Providing clean and affordable energy services to the more than 1 billion people globally who lack access to any kind of electricity at all is a critical driver for poverty reduction, job creation, improved health, and social outcomes. Mini-grids hold tremendous promise to advance energy transitions in rural areas, however, while the fundamental electrical engineering principles of mini-grids are well established, construction and operation vary considerably in practice, resulting in extreme variations in power quality and reliability.

Key Partners


USTDA Supports Minigrid Solar Power Project in Tanzania



Ian (Edward) Baring-Gould