18-866-M3   Off-Grid Electricity Systems

Location: Africa

Units: 6

Semester Offered: Spring

Course description

Over one billion people in the world still lack access to electricity, many of them out of reach of the electricity grid in the near term. This course will explore the technologies and architectures used to provide electricity services in off-grid regions of the developing world including mini/microgrids and solar home systems.

Learning objectives

Definitions relevant to energy access and development will be discussed. Basic system design principles for off-grid components will be applied. Students will use HOMER modeling software to evaluate tradeoffs in component performance. In addition to studying off-grid technologies, the course will also explore the context in which these systems are deployed, their role in enabling development, and policy challenges to implementation.


Students gain the skills and critical perspectives required to characterize the performance and economic viability of off-grid electricity systems.

Content details

  • Energy poverty and energy for development
  • The multi-tier framework
  • Off-grid system architecture
  • Design and control
  • Off-grid generation and storage technologies
  • Load and energy resource assessment
  • System optimization with HOMER Pro




Barry Rawn