Many rural off-grid communities rely on diesel-powered milling equipment to process important staple crops. Despite their relatively low upfront costs, diesel mills are expensive to operate, difficult to run, and harmful to the environment. Solar-powered electric mills offer a more reliable and sustainable alternative.
This new report uses data collected from field testing results of solar mills in East Africa to analyze the market requirements for solar mills and assess their commercial viability. Results indicate that, while solar mills have market potential, they are not yet commercially viable because they cannot fully compete with their diesel counterparts. The report outlines several actions that manufacturers, suppliers, donor, investors and policymakers can take to close the commercial viability gap for solar mills.
Key recommendations include:
- Increase funding for prototype field testing to find the right balance in mill cost, throughput, and efficiency for operators and consumers.
- Improve consumer financing mechanisms and incentives that improve affordability by reducing capital cost.
- Conduct market research to discover and reach untapped markets.
- Integrate the provision of agricultural equipment into national policies and clarify taxes and duty exemptions for solar mills.