Odyssey Energy Solutions – a microgrid company in Boulder, Colorado – is streamlining development of mini-grids (microgrids) via its web-based project management software that links project developers, technology suppliers, and investors in a single, standardized platform. They are currently working with a pipeline of more than 550 mini-grid projects from 21 countries, including Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines and South Africa. Mini-grids are viewed as an inexpensive and efficient option for bringing electricity to more than 70 percent of the world’s one billion people currently without access to basic power, most of whom live in rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
The platform connects mini-grid project developers and investors and provides them with consistent and comprehensive data regarding key performance criteria. It also uses analytics to evaluate the prospects of projects and manage them over the course of their life cycles.
“We were working to scale-up the mini-grid business in India and Africa. We quickly realized that most of the systems and processes were manually driven, and that the rate of development paled in comparison to that needed,” company co-founder and CEO, Emily McAteer said. “The challenge was to build a systems platform capable of streamlining the process so as to make it very easy for developers and investors to share the data in a format that enables them to carry out due diligence and analysis quickly.”
Seed capital and grant funding has been provided by The Shell Foundation and its Factor E Ventures unit, the USAID-led Power Africa initiative, the DOEN Foundation, and the UK’S DFID.
“The data in Odyssey proves that the mini-grid sector is truly taking off – and that investors seeking to finance rural electrification have a robust project pipeline. It is now up to investors — commercial, social impact, development finance institutions and others — to recognize the increasing market readiness of the mini-grid sector,” said McAteer.