Off-Grid Energy Offers Valuable Lessons for a Changing Industry

In an article for Recharge News, Navigant Research describes what the grid-connected world can learn from the off-grid sector's track record of innovation

As the electricity industry moves towards a more distributed, digitized, and decentralized future, innovations known from the off-grid energy sector may well be needed in the on-grid industry. In an article for Recharge News, Roberto Rodriguez Labastida, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, examines the lessons off-grid can offer to the grid-connected world.

These include continuous innovation to expand their market, offering increasingly complex and differentiated services, and embracing new technologies in often unregulated environments. Navigant Research recently analyzed the global market for off-grid DER technologies and a summary of innovative uses and business models. 

"The key skill that off-grid companies have developed to thrive in this complex market is to understand their customer and offer solutions accordingly," Labastida said.

Off-grid solution providers have evolved their business models by following their customers’ energy uses. Most off-grid DER products started as a simple solar panel charging a battery to power a light at night, but they keep adding other services, including radios and mobile phone charging.

Labastida noted that large energy players have recognized the opportunities and invested in companies focused on the off-grid market, partially to tap on the growth in this market but also to understand their business models.

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