Implementing Off-Grid Renewable Energy to Create Social Value and Community Development

Project description

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:

  1. designing socio-technical arrangements to deliver the energy services required to create the desired forms of social value;
  2. designing local energy management organizations to imagine, design, build, operate, repair, and scale sustainable energy solutions;
  3. designing ownership arrangements to ensure reinvestment of energy proceeds in local economies and societies;
  4. designing regional energy innovation ecosystems; and
  5. 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.


Book Chapters
Mbungu, G.; François, D. E.; Parmentier, M. J.; Opal, A.
Principles of Inclusivity in Energy Access: Processes that Promote Equity
2020. Pathways to Sustainable & Inclusive Energy. Insights from the 2019 AE4H Innovation Lab. Eds.: Ambika Opal, Jatin Nathwan, 16–27, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy 
Biswas, S.; François, D. E.; Miller, C.; Poganietz, W.-R.; Parmentier, M. J.
Designing for Social Value of Energy at The Grassroots: A Multi-Criteria Design Framework for Clean Energy Interventions
2020. 26th International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference "Sustainability in Transforming Societies" (ISDRS 2020), Budapest, Hungary, July 15–17, 2020 
Biswas, S.; Richter, J.; Miller, C. A.; Allende, C. A.; Parmentier, M. J.; Chhetri, N.; Chhetri, N.; Dreyer, S.; François, D. E.
Eradicating Poverty through Energy Innovation: Co-producing people centered energy transitions through praxis at the grassroots
2020. 26th International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference "Sustainability in Transforming Societies" (ISDRS 2020), Budapest, Hungary, July 15–17, 2020 
Conference Papers
François, D. E.; Poganietz, W.-R.; Pellinger, C.; Guminski, A.
Low-carbon transitions in European countries under the influence of extreme political, social, economic and energy-related developments
2019. 3rd International Conference on Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions 2019, Bolzano/Bozen (Italy), 9-13 December 2019 [Abstract Booklet], 161–162, Eurac Research 
Poganietz, W.-R.; Francois, D.; Leao, R. P. S.; Antunes, F. L. M.
Changing the focus on energy poverty to the energy-poverty nexus. The case of rural Ceará - Brazil
2019. 2nd International Conference on Energy Research and Social Science : Energy and Society in Transition (2019), Tempe, AZ, USA, May 28–31, 2019 


Dr. Witold-Roger Poganietz
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-28180