To help bring electrical energy to some of the 1.3 billion people without access or with only limited energy access, the International Electrotechnical Commission, World Bank Group and United Nations Foundation have announced a new agreement to provide developing countries with access to important technical documents that support rural electrification, at a specially discounted price.

The IEC Technical Specification 62257 series Recommendations for small renewable energy and hybrid systems for rural electrification outlines international best practice solutions to support energy access in developing countries across a range of technologies. The three organizations are cooperating to offer discounts to qualified stakeholders purchasing documents in the IEC TS 62257 series.

Electrification is one of the key drivers facilitating economic and socio-cultural development. While it is easier to connect cities to the electric grid, rural areas are often too remote. In developing countries renewable energy off-grid applications are often the most suitable for rural electrification. This often means decentralized solutions such as individual electricity generation systems covering basic energy needs or minigrids – larger systems providing electricity to several households.

When developing countries use internationally recognized technical specifications it allows them to secure long-term sustainability of their investments, as well as interoperability and safety of the products they are installing. It also helps to ensure that their investments will be worthwhile and that components will work together as they should, when they should.

In offering this package the IEC has responded positively to a request from the UN Foundation to have the IEC 62257 technical specifications more easily available to key stakeholders in developing countries. This request was reinforced by the conclusions of a 2012 workshop on rural electrification held by AFSEC (African Electrotechnical Standardization Commission) with experts from IEC TC (Technical Committee) 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems. As result of that workshop, AFSEC is developing a technical guide for sustainable off-grid electrification, with reference to IEC 62257 series.

The IEC now participates in the UN Foundation Practitioner Network, part of the SE4All (Sustainable Energy for All) initiative, and it has shared its expertise in Universal Energy Access Workshops held in Cambodia and India in 2013.

The IEC 62257 series contains numerous technical specifications which address three main topics – introduction to rural electrification; project management and implementation guidelines; and technical specifications for components and systems. The IEC TS 62257 series also provides assistance to the project implementer, with information on how to select the right product based on what is available in their local market, product tests to be performed under the local future field conditions, and technical and economic aspects of equipment, skills required etc.

The details of the available discounts are:

  • 75 % discount on IEC TS 62257-9-5 (with or without all normative references)

  • 58% discount on entire IEC TS 62257 series + all normative references

  • 50% discount on any other individual documents in the IEC/TS 62257 series (with or without normative references)