79,000 Interviewed in World’s Largest Off-Grid Energy Report Grounded in Customer Voice

60 Decibels is proud to announce the publication of Why Off-Grid Energy Matters 2024, the world’s most comprehensive impact assessment of the off-grid sector to date.

Top findings from Why Off-Grid Energy Matters 2024:

  • Locally-owned and/or female-led organisations have higher impact, female reach, poverty reach, ease of use, and satisfaction rates than their peers.
  • Over 50% of customers report that their lives have ‘improved significantly’ as a result of their energy access.
  • A third of customers experience challenges using their energy product or service, showing an area for significant improvement in the sector.
  • One in five energy customers use their energy access to support or start a business and/or wider income-earning activity.
  • Impact is greater and satisfaction is higher for rural customers, who are three times more likely to be living in poverty than their urban peers.
  • The first industry-wide Consumer Protection Score stands at 68%, measuring customer awareness of key contract terms, customer ability to pay, and ease of use.

New York, United States – 60 Decibels, a leading social impact measurement company, is proud to announce the publication of Why Off-Grid Energy Matters 2024, the world’s most comprehensive impact assessment of the off-grid sector to date. The report is based on interviews with 79,000+ off-grid energy customers using devices ranging from solar lanterns to solar-powered irrigation pumps.

The report has expanded from its first edition in 2020 to collect more than 2.5 million unique data points over the last 3 years. It includes a larger number of companies, a wider variety of energy products and services, new social performance indicators, top performers, and broader market insights. Gathered through over 500 data collection projects across more than 30 countries, Why Off-Grid Energy Matters 2024 offers deep, bottom-up analysis of the impact of energy access to enable organisations and investors alike to bridge the energy divide and support the promise of no-one left behind.

In today’s world, access to energy is a cornerstone of development and well-being. This new report measures the comparative social performance of renewable off-grid energy solutions in bridging the global energy divide. With over 1 million units of solar energy kits sold in the first half of 2023 alone, the momentum for off-grid products and services is undeniable. Yet, the challenge remains vast, with hundreds of millions expected to remain unelectrified by 2030. This report is a call to action, providing critical insights and data to bolster sustained and inclusive growth in the off-grid energy sector. Focused on the voices of users themselves. 

Key findings

The off-grid energy sector is making a huge difference for populations around the globe. A transformative effect is experienced by over half of all customers – with the quality of their and their families’ lives improving significantly as a result of this access. For nine in ten overall, lives have improved. The sector continues to reach previously unserved populations with life-changing energy products and services. Three-quarters of customers report that this was their first time having access to the product category from which they purchased. 

More specifically, three findings stood out:

  1. Locally-owned organisations have higher impact, female reach, poverty reach, ease of use, and satisfaction rates than their peers. Women-led enterprises boast greater impact and female reach, and lower customer over-indebtedness rates and challenge rates. Women-led and/or locally-owned companies are woefully underrepresented in the flows of capital being invested in the off-grid energy sector, but this is a missed opportunity for positive impact. 
  1. A third of customers experience challenges using their energy product or service. When this happens, customers and their families can’t unlock the many benefits of improved energy access. Overall, the off-grid energy sector performs well globally regarding customer satisfaction, with a Net Promoter Score® (NPS) of 43. The NPS of customers who face no challenges is 56, while the NPS for those with unresolved issues dramatically falls to 1. Improved design and customer support can massively increase the impact of off-grid energy products on the people they serve. 
  1. The industry is serving some of the most in need, but has a way to go. The off-grid sector’s Income Inclusivity Rate (IRR) is 0.81, meaning the sector is serving slightly higher-income customers compared to national poverty rates. To compare with other sectors, the 60 Decibels Agriculture IRR is 0.64 and for Financial Inclusion it’s 0.58. For rural customers, who are three times more likely to live in poverty compared to their urban peers, the impact of their off-grid products is greater, and satisfaction is higher. Broken down by sub-sector, solar lanterns provide the most comprehensive energy access, generate the highest impact, and leave customers the most satisfied. 

Following these key findings, the report also highlights the significant efforts of the 60 Decibels 2023 Energy Initiative, supported by partnerships with Cygnum Capital, responsAbility, TripleJump, KawiSafi Ventures, Ethex/Energise Africa, Acumen, PIDG, Good Energies, and UK aid from the UK aid from the UK Government via the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) platform. This industry-wide collaboration has been instrumental in driving forward the sector’s understanding of off-grid energy impact. Notably, half of these projects were part of the Inclusive Energy Opportunity (IEO) initiative, thanks to funding from Good Energies, DOEN Foundation, and UK aid through the Transforming Energy Access platform. Through the IEO, fully-funded customer insights and impact measurement studies were provided to support early-stage companies that are locally-owned, women-led, operating in nascent markets, and/or delivering nascent technology in 2023.

“This report represents us bringing together insights from our treasure trove of data over the years, all from customer voices – listening to tens of thousands of customers about their experiences. The insights we’ve collated not only illuminate the transformative impact of off-grid energy solutions, but also highlight the opportunities to maximise that impact to its full potential. This report is a call for all stakeholders in the energy ecosystem to leverage these insights for action. It’s clear that our collective efforts can catalyse profound social change, driving us closer to a future where sustainable energy is a reality for all,” says Kat Harrison, Director, 60 Decibels.


Download Why Off Grid Energy Matters 2024: www.60decibels.com/energy-report

About 60 Decibels: 60 Decibels is a global, tech-enabled impact measurement company that brings speed and repeatability to social impact measurement and customer insights. They provide genuine benchmarks of impact performance, enabling organizations to understand impact relative to peers and set performance targets. They have a network of 1,100+ researchers in 80+ countries, and have worked with more than 1,000 of the world’s leading impact investors, companies, foundations, corporations, NGOs, and public sector organizations. 60 Decibels makes it easy to listen to the people who matter most.

60 Decibels Media Contact: nicola@60decibels.com

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