Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 230–239 | Cite as

Delivering on the Promise of Distributed Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Ganesh Rasagam
  • Danqing Zhu
Regional Renewable Energy - Africa (D Arent and N Lee, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Regional Renewable Energy - Africa


Purpose of Review

This review of distributed renewable energy (DRE) entrepreneurship analyzes the market demand and unique market characteristics in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) that drive technology-enabled DRE entrepreneurial solutions through innovative business models. It further examines how policy and regulatory challenges need to be overcome for scale and impact.


The unmet energy demand in SSA provides significant opportunities for DRE entrepreneurs to complement and/or substitute grid-based systems through renewable energy solutions. The characteristics of DRE solutions such as affordability, modularity, flexibility, and sustainability endow competitive advantages in small-scale price-sensitive market segments especially in rural and remote settings. The viability and scalability of business models in the DRE sectors are highly dependent on a conducive policy and regulatory-enabling environment.


DRE entrepreneurs are disrupting energy markets by combining technologies in renewable energy, energy efficiency, mobile payment, and data management systems to meet energy demand especially in price-sensitive, rural and remote markets.


Entrepreneurship Distributed renewable energy Technology Innovation Business model Sub-Saharan Africa 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors are working in the World Bank Finance, Competitiveness, and Innovation Global Practice that has a dedicated program supporting clean tech entrepreneurship in emerging markets including in SSA.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ganesh Rasagam
    • 1
    • 2
  • Danqing Zhu
    • 1
  1. 1.The World Bank Group, Finance, Competitiveness & Innovation (FCI) Global PracticeWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.BethesdaUSA

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