By Anna Creti, Mamadou Barry and Elias Zigah.
While it is commonly acknowledged that mini-grids are the new pathway to bridging the high electricity access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), comparably few studies have assessed how existing regulations and tariff policies in SSA affect their potentials to attract the number of private investments required to scale-up deployments. Private investors’ participation is particularly crucial to meet the annual electrification investment needs of $120 billons in SSA. We study the regulatory framework, the tariff structure and the subsidy schemes for mini-grids in Tanzania. Additionally, using an optimisation technique, we assess the profitability of a mini-grid electrification project in Tanzania from a private investment perspective. We find that the approved standardised small power producers’ tariffs and subsidy scheme in Tanzania still do not allow mini-grid for rural electrification projects to be profitable. A further study is required to identify successful business models and strategies to improve mini-grids profitability.