We make the open source mini-grid management software MicroPower Manager usable for SHS companies

Hi all,

We would love to hear your feedback in regards to the value of adapting and upgrading the (already) open source MicroPowerManager (MPM), so that it is not only tailored to mini-grid operators (as it already is) in rural Africa and Asia but as well to solar home system (SHS) companies.

Problem definition:

Our experience in the rural electrification space as well as talks with SHS companies in the market verify there is a substantial market gap of affordable (in fact, open source and free-of-charge) remote monitoring software that enable a full digitalization of companies’ processes. At present, SHS operators have the following options:

a) Develop a software solution in-house that enables an integrated data monitoring & customer relationship management platform, which is, by its nature, a complex and expensive process

b) Rely on commercially available software for the partial/full digitalization of all operations, which entail a substantial burden on the operational cost base and delay profitability further

c) Keep manual handling of transactional datapoints and customer data, which hinders the crucial growth of business so much needed to reach scale.

Scenarios a) and b) above are contemplable for top end international companies with the human and/or financial capacity to dedicate substantial funds for the digitalization of their operations. As our communication exchange with SHS companies in the market has confirmed, the majority of local SHSs suppliers in the African context thus currently find themselves hands-tied in their quest to reach sustainability and profitability, either having processes that are largely inefficient or spending substantial financial resources to pay monthly fees for commercial software. It is precisely these smaller, local SHS companies that have to be empowered in order to fast-track the eradication of energy poverty globally. Digitalization is a sine qua non condition to achieve the goal – that the digitalization process is affordable (even free-of-charge) for these companies, as well.

Open source innovation implied by the project:

MicroPower Manager (MPM) is an open source software for mini-grid customer and asset management, originally developed by INENSUS, published in 2020. The software contains dashboards for mini-grid clusters, villages, customers; a ticketing system for CRM and maintenance management; geo-referenced customer information; mobile money integration features; an appliances/machines sales engine supporting deferred payment schemes as well as data export/reporting. While mini-grid operators are increasing the software’s reach through integration with Mobile Money providers and meter manufacturers, Solar Home System (SHS) companies are approaching INENSUS requesting the usage of this open source tool for SHS customer and remote system management. To expand the software’s capabilities to SHS, some features need to be added, all of which will remain open source and available in GitHub. This will decrease the cost of operating a SHS PAYG business significantly. Combined mini-grid and SHS management becomes an option.

Proposed deliverables:

Features to be developed to fully integrate SHS into MPM are as follows:

  • A separate window and engine for SHS sales on deferred payment schemes / PAYG shall be set up in parallel to appliance sales incl. technical and financial monitoring of SHS.
  • Data analytics
  • SHS require specific formats of reporting. Data base extractions and data export options specific to SHS companies shall be implemented. More flexible data extraction shall be enabled.
  • SHS companies have slightly different user roles than mini-grid companies. User levels as required for SHS companies shall be integrated into the MPM

According to experience, the first users of new features need some handholding and integration support. After all, the first users carry some risk acting as a beta tester. Therefore, some further support from INENSUS will be required for:

  • Mobile Money integration for up to three mobile money providers.
  • Integration with OpenPAYGO token.
  • Integration with other asset locked financing providers and A2EI’s Prospect Platform.


  • The very first step is to integrate in the project’s concept the feedback coming from the open source community as well as from SHSs companies in the market, with the goal being to have MPM respond to what the market actually needs. Suggestions will be incorporated as long as they are within budgetary limits.
  • Coding will take place.
  • Lab testing and improvements.
  • Documentation of new features in GitHub.
  • Publication on GitHub.
  • Training of SHS companies on MPM usage.

Based on your experience as an active member of the open source community and/or as a solar home system operator, what do you think is needed so that the upgrade of MPM for SHS companies optimally fills the existing market gap and makes the life of the target companies easier?

Your thoughts and contributions will be deeply appreciated.

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The introduction of SHS systems management processes in the MPM software, will be of added value for us companies that work with PAYGO systems. In Africa, and specifically in Mozambique, there are more and more companies working directly with communities, providing SHS systems on a phased payment basis. With this integration, in addition to ensuring a substantial reduction in the company’s monthly costs, it will help not only to make savings but also to later have the capacity for new investments, thus allowing the companies to grow.

On behalf of Ecosys Energias Renováveis, we are anxious for this process to begin and I am sure that INENSUS has our confirmation that we will start using the MPM platform.

Thank you and good work for the development of small and medium-sized companies.

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This is great news. We have been operating in the PAYGO space for the past 2 years and one of the main challenges is to manage our cost so that we can sell our products at an affordable rate. Apart from the obvious benefits associated with open source solutions, i am pretty sure that your product will more competitive than most of the solutions on the market now.

We hope that the addition of SHS systems management capabilities goes smoothly. We are looking forward to add your solutions to our toolkit and we are sure that it will help us provide an overall better service to the communities here Mozambique.

Warm Regards

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Hi @stelio.saranga ,
Welcome to the OSEA Platform, it is greater to have you here. Thank you for this feedback. This is much appreciated.
I have some follow-up questions to understand your feedback better:
Have you already used the MPM software in the past?
You mention challenges with cost management in your operations so far. Could you tell us how you have managed your projects so far? Did you use any software (a commercial proprietary or
your own one)?
Could you also shortly tell us, from your perspective, what would be the most important “obvious benefits” in the case of this project (integration of SHS management to the MPM software)?

Looking forward to you answer.

Hi @Carlos,
Welcome to the OSEA Platform. It is greater to have you here. Thank you for this feedback on the MPM project.
I have two questions:
You are an SHS distributor, right? Or do you also operate Mini-grids in combination with SHS?
Could you tell us how are you managing your projects currently? Do you use any in-house developed tool or any commercial license tool?

Looking forward to your answer.

Hi Vivien,
Thanks so much for writing. Nice to meet you.

Regarding the questions, I have to comment the following:

(i) Yes, we Ecosys are currently SHS distributors, but in the near future we will be signing some contracts so that we can also start operating with mini-grids.

(ii) At the moment, for SHS, we are working with a commercial license platform that helps us to have all the customer management information, with an integrated CRM.
The reason why we intend to start using MPM, after what we could already see when we used the demo, is first to reduce the monthly licensing costs of the platform we are using, as they are very high, which ends up directly affect our company’s monthly incoming, not allowing us to have a cash flow that will later allow us to make new investments, and second because MPM tends to be more robust, more detailed which would help a lot in our daily activities.

I hope I have answered the information you requested. Thank you and any questions you may have, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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Hi Carlos,

Thanks, and yes, you have answered my questions.
Have a great day.

I consider that implementing Open-Source mini-grid software is a great tool to democratize the SHS market-place. I agree that MPM can substantially decrease the Opex cost in markets which are extremely sensitive to the economy. Also, I consider that tools like MPM must be agnostic to infrastructure, due mainly to the fact that in certain areas, there is no fiber or mobile technology available in remote location!!! We are looking to work with MPM in severals projects related to Pay-as-you go in the Latin-America and the Caribeean market, building the appropriate Mobile-payment interface for the region, where there is mobile infrastructure, otherwise, we implement LoRaWAN and IoT Satellite solutions.

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Thanks for sharing your feedback.
Happy to hear you believe the SHS/PAYGO added functionalities to the MPM would be of interest to you. You mention the reduction in OPEX as one benefit of the MPM.
Are you currently using a commercial paid solution for your PAYGO device and client management which you would substitute by using the MPM?

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@AndreaCabanero thanks for sharing this idea with community. While there are benefits of OS software Vs. license software, can you also what kind of support will be available for SHS companies interested in using the platform ? 1) Which server and where the server will be hosted ? 2) who will be responsible for Server maintenance 2) Responsible for bug fixes ? What level of in-house develepor resource will be required by each SHS company to customise the software for their business requirement? This will help in understanding the net saving at a business level both at short term level and at scaled business level.

@AndreaCabanero the mobile money integrations are currently being targetted with above scope of work for which country ? since MNO integration needs to be handled at each country level.

Dear Aarti,

thank you for your message. Below the answer to your questions:

  1. MPM Cloud will most probably be installed on a server in Europe (it is the case now and it is likely to remain so). MPM Open Source can be installed by the user anywhere in the world.
  2. INENSUS, as primus-inter-pares within the open source community will take care of the server operation and maintenance and will cover related internal cost for the operation of MPM Cloud.
  3. All open source community members are invited to fix bugs and add features to the open source software. INENSUS will fix bugs where no other community member offers any solution to keep MPM Cloud and MPM Open Source operational.
  4. MPM Cloud offers a comprehensive free-of-charge services package at lowest IT capacity requirements. Installation and operation of the software is taken over by INENSUS. Regarding Mobile Money integration and SMS service provider integration, some work may need to be done by the users; however, INENSUS (and for MPM Open Source also other software developers from the open source community) can be consulted for support. This support may be free of charge in certain countries where Enaccess covers the integration work. In other countries, this service may be hired for a fee to be negotiated.

Does the above answer your questions?

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Under the budget proposed, mobile money integration will be prepared for up to 3 users (which can be located in 3 different countries). Depending on the availability of funding by Enaccess for these types of services, the support can be increased or decreased from the level indicated in our proposal.

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