Power for All in the Press

India failing to support distributed renewables for energy access: report

31 JAN 2018 | According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), India has to increase the rate of delivering electricity to its rural population by 10 times to achieve its ambitious target of 24/7 power for all by early 2019. At the same time, there is growing consensus among experts that flexible, quality decentralized renewable energy (DRE) solutions like home solar and mini-grids are essential to achieving universal access for India’s 300 million people still living without electricity. In fact, the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluded recently that DRE systems “will be the least-cost solution for three-quarters” of the additional connections needed to end energy poverty.

Growing demand for mini-grids, solar in rural India; kerosene declining

14 DEC 2017 | India’s recently announced Saubhagya plan aims to ensure power supply to 40 million unelectrified households by early 2019, and complements another initiative, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, to strengthen electricity infrastructure in rural areas. But having a connection does not directly translate into electricity access. According to a recent survey in six Indian states, only half of the households with electricity connections receive electricity for more than 12 hours a day. Lack of reliable electricity supply forces households to use suboptimal sources of lighting such as kerosene. According to 2012 data, 88 per cent of rural households in India use kerosene, with a majority incurring monthly expenses of INR 80 and above.

New $50 million energy access growth fund announced by Shell Fdn, FMO

2 NOV 2017 | While technological innovation has revolutionized communications, transportation, health, and education, more than 1 billion people around the world still lack access to reliable electricity — whether to light up a room, or enable them to make a decent living. So while the rest of the world powers their way toward ever-brighter futures, one in seven people around the globe is left behind. This World Energy Day, it’s time to talk about what the “grid of the future” might look like.

Opinion: We need to build the 'power grid of the future' today. Here's how.

20 OCT 2017 | While technological innovation has revolutionized communications, transportation, health, and education, more than 1 billion people around the world still lack access to reliable electricity — whether to light up a room, or enable them to make a decent living. So while the rest of the world powers their way toward ever-brighter futures, one in seven people around the globe is left behind. This World Energy Day, it’s time to talk about what the “grid of the future” might look like.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 10.41.45 PM.png

How women are bringing solar power to villages in Bihar

21 SEPT 2017 | Recently, Kumar Deepak, environment officer at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in India, had an opportunity to meet with Amrish Joshi, a block coordinator for Tankuppa, Gaya, in Bihar state for the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (aka, Jeevika), who has been working on renewable energy installations in the area.

24x7 power is about “access”, not “electrification”

10 AUG 2017 | India currently reports 99.4% electrification, yet there are 304 million people who still lack access to electricity according to the recent draft of the National Energy Policy (NEP) issued by the government’s policy think tank NITI Aayog.

New national energy policy redefines rural “electrification”, sees states taking lead

20 JULY 2017 | ndia has put forward a sweeping roadmap for its energy future, including the role it foresees for distributed renewables as it moves to create universal electricity access by 2022, and an energy revolution by 2040, by which time India’s population will be about 1.6 billion, with electricity demand expected to increase 4.5 fold from 2012 levels.

India sees launch of 1st solar TV service

6 JUNE 2017 | Simpa Networks, a leader in providing affordable solar power to households and businesses in rural India, today announced the launch of Magic TV, the country’s first solar-powered Pay-as-you-Go (PAYG) satellite TV solution.

A “quick start guide” for ending rural energy poverty

24 MAY 2017 | Solving complex development issues doesn’t usually come with a quick start manual. New findings, however, suggest that delivering electricity access to 1 billion rural poor may be an exception.


Business Day
FG reaffirms commitment to renewable energy

23 MAR 2017 | In continuation of its efforts to ensure the provision of electricity 24 hours a day for all Nigerians, the Federal Government on Wednesday reaffirmed its commitment to support the growth of renewable energy in the country. 

 Sunshine in Nigeria | Image: Inside Climate News

Sunshine in Nigeria | Image: Inside Climate News

Inside Climate News
Solar Power Taking Hold in Nigeria, One Mobile Phone at a Time

09 FEB 2017 | As decentralized solar springs up in Nigeria, and Lumos receives $90 million investment, it seems pay-as-you-go solar is the clearest blueprint for—at least partially —addressing this problem of the 1.2 billion people on the planet with no electricity. 

 Solar Mini-Grid - Credit: Arnergy

Solar Mini-Grid - Credit: Arnergy

Daily Trust
Agency advocates free tariff on imported renewable energy equipment

26 DEC 2016 | Power for All, an international campaign canvassing for access to electricity in Nigeria, has advocated the removal of payment of tariff on assured renewable energy technologies’ equipment imported into Nigeria. Replacing all of the kerosene, candles and batteries currently used for off-grid lighting in Nigeria with modern decentralized renewables would save the country over $1.4 billion each year.

 MOU Signing between REASL and SLAMFI - Credit: Power for All

MOU Signing between REASL and SLAMFI - Credit: Power for All

First household solar pilot kits launched in Sierra Leone

05 DEC 2016 | The Sierra Leone Association for Microfinance Institutions (SLAMFI) and the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL) came together to launch the pioneering household solar pilot project in Sierra Leone on the 1st of December.

 Credit: ESI Africa

Credit: ESI Africa

ESI Africa
Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria – launched

25 NOV 2016 | At the WAPIC conference, industry leaders witnessed the launch of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, which will aid the country’s 2030 energy mix. Decentralised and renewable energy solutions we cited as a fast and affordable way to increase power generation and energy access.

All Africa:
Sierra Leone: Off-Grid Solar Can Save Lives in Salone

23 NOV 2016 | Civil society organizations join together to support the Power for All campaign in Sierra Leone, driving energy access and improving access to vital services. "Off-grid solar and other renewable solutions can save lives by powering medical equipment, refrigerating vaccines and illuminating emergency operations."

 A solar mini-grid powers a barber shop | Image: Steamaco

A solar mini-grid powers a barber shop | Image: Steamaco

Taste of solar power builds appetite for more in Kenya, survey finds

31 OCT 2016 | In Kenya, one of the countries leading Africa’s push toward solar energy use, experimentation with solar lighting is fast expanding into broader use of renewable power for business, energy experts say. 

 Image | Aspire Africa

Image | Aspire Africa

Aspire Africa:
New Fund to Propel Decentralized Renewables into the Mainstream

18 OCT 2016 | An industry knows it has gone mainstream when the most risk-averse money -  institutional investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, banks, hedge funds and endowments - starts to move in. That happened on Friday for decentralised renewable energy.

 A women charges her phone using decentralized solar | Image: Reuters

A women charges her phone using decentralized solar | Image: Reuters

Thompson Reuters Foundation
To end poverty by 2030, we need energy access for all by 2020

11 OCT 2016 | Energy access, aka SDG7, is fundamental. Which means it must be achieved far earlier than 2030 to give the other electricity-reliant goals—education, healthcare, gender, equality, water, agriculture, sanitation - enough time to be implemented. We're making progress, but must work faster to reach sustainable energy for all goals by 2030.

 Image: Global Leap

Image: Global Leap

Decentralized Energy:
A 'green revolution' built on efficiency

16 SEPT 2016 | Power for All interviews Michael Leibreich and explores three emerging energy access trends and learns why the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, believes that the shift to low power appliances is leading to a new clean energy 'green revolution'.

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Medium.com: Can Saubhagya succeed? Prospects of universal electrification in Uttar Pradesh
29 JAN 2018 | India’s flagship electrification scheme, Saubhagya, aims to bring electricity to every Indian home by early 2019. With 15 million non-electrified households in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP), the scheme’s success depends heavily on rural electrification in the country’s most populous state.

Medium.com: Husk Power nets $20 million from Shell, ENGIE, Swedfund to scale mini-grids
15 JAN 2018 | The investment in Husk Power Systems, a leading rural distributed utility company operating mini-grids in Asia and Africa, came from Shell Technology Ventures LLC, Swedish development finance institution Swedfund International and ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, ENGIE group’s impact investment fund.

Medium.com: Why active community ownership is key to rural electricity access in India
9 JAN 2018 | In India, 93% of urban households use electricity as the main source of lighting, compared with 55% in rural areas. How to get power to that widely dispersed rural population (estimated at 25,000 to 50,000 villages) is a key goal of the central government, but major questions surround the efficacy of electrification by grid extension.

Medium.com: Off-grid solar financing failing in India
25 DEC 2017 | With less than 1% of solar PV financing in India invested in the off-grid segment, it has a very small share of the total market. Current financing for the segment is a patchwork of international donor grants, debt from international development finance institutions and owner equity. 

Medium.com: Distributed solar industry eyes India as next “pay-as-you-go” giant
21 DEC 2017 | Pay-as-you-go (“PAYG” or “paygo”) is a way for energy consumers to purchase products or services in small increments. PAYG solar home solutions have exploded in rural Africa in recent years, with a diverse set of business models, including: rental, ‘lease-to-own’ (when customers pay small amounts until they own a system fully), upfront sales with financing partners and direct cash sales.

Medium.com: Amid push for rural grid extension, distribution franchising could deliver reliable energy access in India
19 DEC 2017 | Recent examination of the financial viability of European utilities by investment analysts at the International Energy Agency (IEA) concludes that “digital technologies are facilitating new business models, such as virtual power plants (VPPs), based on bilateral power exchange and increased roles for consumers and third parties to provide energy, capacity and flexibility services that were once the exclusive domain of utilities.”

Medium.com: What’s the best battery for rural mini-grids?
13 DEC 2017 | After several months of testing, ITT’s initial conclusion is that Li-ion batteries appear to be the most suitable for use in solar mini-grids with high power loads, high energy demands, as well as operational stresses such as high ambient temperature, deep cycling and partial state of charge.

Medium.com: Mini-grids can quickly achieve universal access in India, cut emissions: report
12 DEC 2017 | Renewable energy mini-grids have huge potential to contribute to the Indian government’s 24x7 Power for All agenda by rapidly expanding reliable electrification in thousands of suitable villages, as well as mitigating significant greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new publication, “Scale and Sustainability: Toward a Public-Private Paradigm in Powering India”

Medium.com: Living Under the Grid: 110 Million of Africa’s Unconnected Customers Represent a Massive Opportunity
8 DEC 2017 | Almost half of the people living in sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity. Urban electricity access rates are even higher, estimated at 76 percent in 2014. But these figures are dangerously deceptive.

Medium.com: Stage set for women to lead a solar-powered gender revolution in rural India
30 NOV 2017 | Perhaps the most exciting outcome in India of distributed renewables (solar lighting, home solar systems or mini-grids) is the impact on women. Signs are growing of the potential for these solutions to alter the gender balance in a country where sexual discrimination and assault are still far too prevalent

Medium.com: Top India companies mostly ignore energy access in CSR spend: report
27 NOV 2017 | A new report issued by Samhita Social Ventures for the first time analyzes the corporate social responsibility (CSR) spend by India’s top publicly-traded companies on bringing electricity to India’s 300 million rural population living without energy access. 

Medium.com: Video: Rural small business benefiting from reliable, quality mini-grids
24 NOV 2017 | Developed by Husk Power Systems, a 54kW mini-grid (combining solar, biomass and storage) in Tamakuhi Raj village in Uttar Pradesh is delivering steady electricity supply to 84 micro-enterprises. This is the story of one entrepreneur — garment retailer Manoj Yadav — and the positive impact distributed renewable energy is having on his revenue and customer satisfaction.

Medium.com: Saubhagya: the challenge in one chart
23 NOV 2017 | India has more than 40 million households, mostly rural, living without electricity. Its new Saubhagya plan aims to remedy that, but it will require increasing new monthly connections from 300,000 per month to 3.3 million per month. How it gets there, and the exact role of distributed solutions such as mini-grids and solar home systems, remains unclear.

Medium.com: India’s renewable energy push: a win-win for job creation and electricity access
21 NOV 2017 | A new report from World Resources Institute (WRI) explores India’s opportunity to be a role model for job creation in developing countries, especially for women, and create lucrative alternatives to subsistence farming through energy access

Medium.com: Commentary: new India electrification target daunting, but doable
21 NOV 2017 | Since the Indian government announced in September a new scheme (called Saubhagya) to achieve universal electrification for urban and rural households by March 2019, much of the attention has been on the viability of such an ambitious goal. The new goal is certainly challenging (if not impossible) within the given timeframe. That said, Saubhagya does achieve some important advances worth noting.

Medium.com: Video: Mini-grids help train women, youth with reliable power
17 NOV 2017 | Smart Power India is pushing the envelope in productive uses of electricity access beyond lighting, such as this Husk Power Systems mini-grid project in Kathkuiyan, Uttar Pradesh. Access to quality, reliable power supply from the mini-grid is ensuring that job training is uninterrupted, giving economic opportunity to local women and youth.

Medium.com: Crowdfunding tapped as new finance path for rural electrification in India
15 NOV 2017 | German debt crowdfunding platform bettervest started by backing domestic renewable energy projects, but since 2015 has also focused on expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa and now India. Its first two investments in India, €400,000 split between Mera Gao Power and Boond Engineering, are already in progress.

Medium.com: Major India player Azure enters mini-grid market for last-mile electrification
11 NOV 2017 | Azure Power, one of the largest developers and operators of utility-scale solar assets in India with a market capitalization of just under $400 million, is the latest in a string of large companies — Mitsui, Engie, E.ON among them — entering the mini-grid market.

Medium.com: Commentary: Can India lead global mini-grid market like China did with solar PV?
9 NOV 2017 | Between 2006 and 2016, China went from a blip on the radar of solar panel manufacturing to total domination. In the process, it sparked a global boom in renewable energy and created a huge domestic industry. India now finds itself in a position to do something similar for renewable energy mini-grids — if the government seizes the opportunity.

Medium.com: Solar + storage: a path to converging clean cooking, electricity access? India thinks so
7 NOV 2017 | SDG7 — affordable, modern, reliable, sustainable energy for all — includes providing access to electricity (for 1 billion people) and clean cooking (for 3 billion). But the two have always been on parallel tracks. 

Medium.com: Podcast: the emerging South-South nexus in last-mile electrification #SDG7
5 NOV 2017 | In two parts, the discussion touches on the Power for All campaign, electricity access in India (Part 1) and the emerging opportunities for collaboration between India and Sub-Saharan Africa (Part 2) to deliver energy services to 900 million people for the first time.

Medium.com: India energy future needs to be less ad hoc, more distributed
2 NOV 2017 | In a discussion with Power for All, the co-author of the recently published “Energizing India: Towards a Resilient and Equitable Energy System”, says that India needs to fully recognize that energy is bigger than just an infrastructure issue, but one of development that can stunt India’s growth unless addressed correctly by ensuring financial and environmental sustainability.

Medium.com: India’s Twitterati for electricity access
24 OCT 2017 | Power for All has compiled an informal guide of leading voices on Twitter connected to the effort to bring electricity to the 300 million in India without access. The below list is based on frequency and relevancy of posts and number of followers. We’ve included individuals and institutions, both from within and outside India

Medium.com:  India historic success for electricity access, future connections will be decentralized: IEA
19 OCT 2017 | India stands out as “one of the largest electrification success stories in history”, accounting for 2 or every 5 people newly electrified since 2000, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency. However, the report painted a picture of the future quite different from the centralized grid focus of the current Indian government

Medium.com:  Indian States Energy Access Digest: Issue 1
16 OCT 2017 | The administration of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made universal access to continuous and reliable electricity a central pillar of its development efforts. Upon coming in to office, Modi moved quickly to enlist state governments in this effort through the “Power for All 24x7” initiative.

Medium.com:  A glaring omission in India’s energy policy: gender justice
13 OCT 2017 | The provision of energy services is crucial to human well-being and is often considered an important input in improving gender equality and social inclusion and thereby realizing a broader range of development objectives. 

Medium.com:  Billions in savings from kerosene subsidy cuts should go to distributed solar: IISD
11 OCT 2017 | India is one of the largest consumers of kerosene on an absolute and per capita basis. Because there are no accessible, affordable and established sustainable alternatives, poor rural households — especially in remote rural areas — continue to use kerosene as their primary lighting fuel despite the well-recorded health hazards.

Medium.com:  Video: Mini-grids increase rice processing output for rural Indian women by 100x
8 OCT 2017 | The Smart Power India (SPI) initiative has electrified 8 villages in Jharkhand state with green mini-grids. Women who earn a living from processing rice are now using electric hullers and fans to hull and winnow rice, and the impact has been huge: the amount of rice hulled daily has increased 100x from 20kg to 2,000kg.

Medium.com:  Billionaire puts electricity access on front page of top India newspapers
6 OCT 2017 | Manoj Bhargava, the Indian-American billionaire, philanthropist and creator of 5-hour Energy, took out front-page ads in all of India’s top national newspapers on Oct. 6, offering “Free Electricity” from distributed renewable energy.

Medium.com:  India energy access sector makes headway, also faces headwinds: CLEAN report
5 OCT 2017 | A new report launched by industry representative Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) showed that India’s private sector energy access companies are experiencing growth, and expect to triple their financing needs in the next three years, but need stronger public partnerships to scale more rapidly.

Medium.com:  Scaling up mini-grids through capital infusion, innovation, and cross-sector collaboration
2 OCT 2017 | Government affirmation of off-grid models being a complementary way of viable electricity provision will be critical to unlocking market potential. A quarter of the world’s energy poor live in India. This energy access gap is partially due to the remoteness of some communities, where the national grid may not reach for many years.

Medium.com:  India pledges $2.5 billion to electrify all households by end Q1 2019: Modi
25 SEPT 2017 | Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a new phase of India’s universal electrification program, saying that state’s would be required to electrify all households by March 31, 2019 and committing 163.2 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) for the program, with 86% of that going to rural electrification.

Medium.com:  Power for all, always
25 SEPT 2017 | Two years ago, in his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to provide electricity to the 18,500 villages, which did not have electricity then, in 1,000 days.

Greentech Media:  How Deregulation Could Improve Reliability for Cash-Strapped African Utilities
19 SEPT 2017 | While high demand growth and the need for investment drove dramatic electricity sector reform in low- and middle-income countries in the 1990s and early 2000s, Power for All and GTM Research find that 71 percent of sub-Saharan African countries currently rely on vertically integrated utility structures, although the proportion is steadily declining.

Medium.com:  Solar mini-grids deliver clean water to rural India
19 SEPT 2017 | Distributed solar is about more than just bringing electricity to rural villages. It’s about delivering the services that electricity enable, including clean water. Grassroots and Rural Innovative Development (GRID) and a growing number of private companies are pioneering a new approach in India using renewable energy mini-grids to power reverse osmosis (RO) water purification plants.

Medium.com:  Thoughts on quality electricity access in rural Jharkhand
18 SEPT 2017 | Jharkhand is one of the most diverse states in India with 32 recognized indigenous tribes accounting for more than 26% of the state’s population. The village of Kantasola is inhabited by one such tribe, the Santhals, known for their art, handicrafts, bow and arrow skills and, spot-clean villages and houses.

Medium.com:  Backed by Japanese giant, top India mini-grid developer heads to Africa
12 SEPT 2017 | Mitsui & Co., Ltd. and OMC Power are forming a joint venture (JV) to enter the African market as part of a just announced ¥1 billion ($9.3 million) equity investment by the Japanese conglomerate in the leading private Indian mini-grid developer, according to the companies.

Medium.com:  5 concrete steps for India to achieve universal electricity access
11 SEPT 2017 | India’s government has set 2022 as the target for providing 24x7 electricity to all of its people, including the roughly 300 million who lack any access to power. A lot of progress has been made, but a program associate at leading Indian policy research institute CEEW has outlined 5 concrete steps that should be taken to assure the ambitious goal is met.

Medium.com:  Mini-grids deliver in India floods
6 SEPT 2017 | In late August, Bihar, one of the poorest states in India, was devastated by flooding that affected millions of people and severely challenged authorities working to support the rural communities hit hardest. With uncertainty about the availability of grid power, renewable energy mini-grids stepped up to ensure adequate back-up power and played a key role in assisting with relief operations.

Medium.com:  New research: rooftop solar can bridge India’s gap in rural health services
31 AUG 2017 | The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), one of South Asia’s leading policy research institutions, today issued a new report concluding that distributed solar energy can play a major role in bridging India’s massive gap in delivering rural healthcare services, both as a primary and backup source of power.

Medium.com:  New research: rooftop solar can bridge India’s gap in rural health services
31 AUG 2017 | The Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), one of South Asia’s leading policy research institutions, today issued a new report concluding that distributed solar energy can play a major role in bridging India’s massive gap in delivering rural healthcare services, both as a primary and backup source of power.

Medium.com:  In north-east India, boat clinics go solar for better healthcare delivery
30 AUG 2017 | For communities perilously living in flood prone areas, access to basic resources and opportunities is a perpetual challenge. River islands especially lack basic infrastructure and services such as healthcare, education, power, drinking water and sanitation.

Medium.com:  Small hydro target moved up in India
29 AUG 2017 | NITI Aayog, the government policy think tank in India, has recommended that the country’s Small Hydro Power (SHP) target of 5 GW by 2022 be advanced to 2019–20, which it says will aid in balancing variable solar energy in decentralized locations.

Medium.com:  With a few tweaks, India can lead rural electrification with real-time data and smarter metric
25 AUG 2017 | India’s Draft National Energy Policy, published by NITI Aayog on June 27, proposes to change the national definition of village electrification. The change would only consider a village fully electrified if all households enjoy adequate hours of power supply on a typical day.

Medium.com: “Green Fund” needed to unlock finance and achieve India’s clean energy goals
24 AUG 2017 | Momentum is building as India moves towards meeting its clean energy targets. 

Medium.com: 3 keys to ending electricity poverty in rural India: CLEAN
22 AUG 2017 | India’s current electrification rate is about 200,000 households per month. At that rate, and assuming 43 million households still without electricity, the current approach would require another 18 years to achieve the government’s goal of 24/7 universal electricity access. 

Medium.com: Infographic: India $48 billion annual energy access opportunity
16 AUG 2017 | India is the world’s largest single market for providing energy access, with 304 million people or 43 million households officially still unelectrified (depending on the data source). The government has targeted 2022 for 24x7 nationwide electrification. The problem is massive, but so is the opportunity for decentralized renewable energy (DRE).