Stand-alone photovoltaic systems provide a potentially sustainable option for rural electrification, but the design and management of these systems is a challenge. Here we examine the ability of dynamic (real-time) pricing in off-grid systems to improve the durability of the batteries used to store power. In a randomized controlled trial with a pre-paid solar micro-grid in rural India, we found that dynamic pricing did not improve technical performance or customer satisfaction. The best explanation for the null finding is that, for various reasons, households minimized their power consumption and there was thus little need for demand management. These findings suggest that the low demand for power is a key challenge for the profitability of pre-paid off-grid systems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Boond Engineering & Development for their collaboration on the experiment and Morsel Research & Development for excellent data collection. We also thank Daniel Soto for excellent comments on a previous draft. We acknowledge the support of Fortum Corporation for this research. We thank the Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation for a doctoral research grant for Sini Numminen. We thank the Finnish Technology and Innovation Agency (TEKES) for funding the microgrid installations through the New Global Project of Aalto University. This work was also partially supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea ( NRF-2016S1A3A2925230 ).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Energy (miscellaneous)