Santa Clara University Partners with Ayllu to Create Map of Off-Grid Energy Solutions

The Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) at Santa Clara University has partnered with social-enterprise information company Ayllu to create an energy map website. The site provides detailed graphs and analyses of 40 social enterprises in 16 countries that are overcoming vast hurdles in their respective markets to bring electricity or alternative fuel to 500 to 500,000 people apiece.

Visitors to the energy map can get an overview of the types of distribution systems, business models, technologies and product designs being employed, as well as detailed financial and business model profiles of the companies currently succeeding in bringing electricity and clean fuel to these communities around the world.

An estimated 1.4 billion people live in areas of the world so remote that no major electricity grid projects are expected to come their way for years. Three billion must cook with polluting, unhealthy stoves, or over open fires.

The 40 enterprises included in the map serve several million customers and are a strong representative sample of what’s working in the world today: a company in India that’s turning discarded rice husks into affordable electricity for villagers; a Nicaraguan company that trains workers to build and maintain hybrid energy plants; a Nigerian company that turns cow slaughterhouse waste into electricity.

Each of the energy companies on the map has a proven solution, and has either won a Tech Award from the Silicon Valley-based Tech Museum or has gone through SCU’s competitive eight-month-long Global Social Benefit Incubator, a capacity- and skill-building program offered by CSTS for the past nine years.