Solar service centres and multifunctional platforms are innovative concepts for providing energy services in poor rural communities. For some communities, because of the size and dispersion of their location, grid-electricity is non-existent and therefore a solar service centre or a multifunctional platform is the only viable option for lighting, refrigeration, water pumping, powering of equipment etc. Though they contribute to socio-economic development of rural communities, it is however argued that the two energy services provide different frontiers of contribution to energy security. This paper therefore compares these energy services and shows how they have contributed to reduce energy-poverty in rural Ghana and Burkina Faso. The scope of the analysis covers deep-seated empirical lessons on investment costs, benefits and welfare gains, and potential in direct productive and spin-off energy demand sectors. The purpose is to draw lessons to inform rural people, energy policy makers, and development experts on both good practices and failures of the two forms of energy services. Evidence from the surveys confirms that, solar service centres and multifunctional platforms are fundamentally suitable for use in poor rural communities. However, the concern is what to go in for when faced with the problem of choice, which is critical in meeting the needs of the rural poor.