Reply: A practitioner view: Six better recommendations for off-grid companies

Willem, your reply “A practitioner view: Six better recommendations for off-grid companies” to our post was to the point. We messed up and want to apologize for that, to you and practitioners in the space. We did not run the necessary controls before this was published. And we hate to have done so in a sector that has been one our major fights for a decade, and among a crowd we now consider family.

The original intent of the post was to suggest potential solutions to one targeted issue, the growing price gap between quality SHS and non-verified systems. Instead of that, it appeared as a series of top down recommendations, out of touch with the priorities of the sector. We cannot state how much this is at odds with our DNA. Since our creation, the credo of Hystra has been to never assume we would know better, but draw all our inspiration, knowledge and energy from practitioners like yourselves and the solutions you are developing.  

As a result of your post, we have tried to amend ours “6 ways for off-grid companies to lower the costs of quality Solar Home Systems” to reflect better what it was always supposed to be: ideas and examples from practitioners on how to lower the costs of quality SHS, recognizing that these were neither exhaustive nor the only solutions to address one of the sub-challenges in a dynamic sector.

Coming to the role that consultants should play in this space, we also have a responsibility to not forget the boundaries of our role. Where you are the ones doing the tough work in the field (and a number of us have been in that position before), we should excel at consolidating knowledge and best practices; at sometimes teasing you with our challenging questions; at helping structuring your decision-making; and at always aiming for success for you and the people you serve.

We believe that we have been able to make a difference a number of times over the years. This has only been possible when we were carefully listening to your needs, thinking about your achievements, and able to design the best possible solutions to your issues. Disconnection from that process leads to bungled consulting. Thank you for reminding us.

Yours sincerely, 
François (Lepicard) and Simon (Brossard)