Off-Grid Energy Roadmap

Identification of Technologies and Business Models

There are many technologies, products, and business models that have been developed to address a wide range of energy related issues. D-Lab is developing tools and curating resources in order to help organizations make informed decisions about what options are best suited to meet the specific needs in their community. Examples of such tools and resources include:

  • Databases of off-grid energy technologies
  • Decision making tools 
  • Case studies
  • Sector analysis reports

Off-Grid Energy Solution Identification Projects:

Efficient cookstove manufacturing facility in Bamako, Mali.


Project description: The Off-Grid Energy Resources Page was created to provide connections to resources relating to the following subject areas:     

  • Key organizations in the off-grid energy sector
  • Energy technologies and products 
  • Clean cookstoves and biomass fuel
  • Solar lighting and power 
  • Business support and inclusive business

People: D-Lab's Off-Grid Energy team

Examples of solor lighting products evaluated by D-Lab.


Project description: The Solar Lighting Product Comparison aggregates information about solar lighting products in easy-to-read comparative charts, allowing consumers to compare the features of various products and make more informed purchasing decisions. This resource includes a database that allows for comprehensive technical specification comparison of 55 solar lantern and solar home lighting systems that have passed Lighting Global's Quality Assurance testing. Additionally, the website contains a series of country specific information sheets charting key technical specifications of products that available in a given country, as well as the contact information for local distributors of the products. These outputs can be found here.

Read the MIT News article about D-Lab's Solar Lighting Product Comparison

People: Scale-Ups staff member Eric Verploegen, student intern Chitti Desai (Wellesley '17), and Eric Ferraiuolo.

A women's savings group in Markala, Mali.


Project description: This project was started as a part of a Practical Impact Alliance working group focused on distribution challenges at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP). Based on the needs of the working group members, D-Lab developed the following two resources:

The BoP Distribution Compass: a practical decision-making tool for social business and development practitioners to select appropriate distribution strategies for their products in BoP markets.

Best Practices for Door-to-Door (D2D) Distribution: a guide for practitioners covering key components of a D2D distribution network, success factors, and scalability drivers.

Read Saida Benhayoune's blog Reaching the Last Mile and Shwetha Shivarama's blog Reflections on the Right Path to Last Mile Distribution.

People: D-Lab staff members Saida Benhayoune, Eric Verploegen, and Jona Repishti. Brandeis Heller School students Shwetha Shivarama ('16) and Roger Perez ('16).