This project intends to apply research to significantly upgrade community-based, off-grid, renewable energy access solutions in remote and rural areas to create greater social and economic value and to advance progress on multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Research teams from the Center for Energy and Society, Arizona State University, and the Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, jointly with partner organizations, will evaluate off-grid energy projects using the “Multi-layer design framework for social value creation.” Based on the results of the evaluations, the research teams will work with the partner organizations to improve energy solutions and community sustainable development (measured via Sustainable Development Goal number 7 and additional SDGs).
The core design approach in the multi-layer framework is to enable and empower users of new sustainable energy systems (e.g. households, businesses and local governments) to use their new access to energy to create diverse forms of social value, such as income, health, education, clean water, food security and reduced inequality. Surrounding its social value core, the framework design strategies include:
- designing socio-technical arrangements to deliver the energy services required to create the desired forms of social value;
- designing local energy management organizations to imagine, design, build, operate, repair, and scale sustainable energy solutions;
- designing ownership arrangements to ensure reinvestment of energy proceeds in local economies and societies;
- designing regional energy innovation ecosystems; and
- designing policy and governance to support this work.
The project sees an application of the multi-layer framework in projects of four partner organizations: Sunbridge Solar (Nepal); Solar Solutions (Philippines); ENVenture (Uganda) and Practical Action (Bolivia). These partners are already engaged in achieving SDG 7 and other SDGs. The multi-layer framework will also be improved by using the cross-impact balance method, which is used for the systematization and analysis of complex-socio-technical systems.