In the region of Diana, in northern Madagascar, new equipment providing access to electricity has emerged. Far from the national grid, these systems, known as "nano-grids", operate on solar energy. They supply electricity to five or six households which pre-purchase a quantity of energy by mobile phone via a secure platform. The electricity supplied to each household powers two or three LED lamps and charges an electrical / electronic device - for example a telephone.
The two engineers that founded the Nanoé Développement association, which is behind this innovation, started from a single conviction: it is possible to develop access to electricity by creating a new progressive and modular "lateral electricity" model. Their approach is to prioritize the gradual interconnection of small decentralized and locally-managed grids rather than waiting for the national infrastructure to develop which is likely to stop before it reaches rural areas.
The program also includes training rural entrepreneurs to develop and operate the nano-grids. Fifteen of these "nano-entrepreneurs", who earn the equivalent of 1.6 times the median national income from their work, have already been trained to make the connections. Nearly 300 homes are already connected.
After having supported the experimentation phase in the first half of 2018, the Veolia Foundation is supporting the spinoff of the system. By the end of 2018, Nanoé Développement intends to prove the replicability of nano-gids to prepare for this lateral and solidarity electrification model being rolled out on a very large scale. The objective has been set: 1000 nano-grids, 100 nano-entrepreneurs by the end of the year. An ambition at the crossroads of technical and social innovation that is shared by the Veolia Foundation.
Ademe (Agence de l’Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l’Énergie) received 92 applications following its call for projects “Innovative solutions for off-grid access to energy”. Only nine were selected in March to receive financial support from the agency. Among them, Nanoé Développement was recognized for its decentralized electrification project.