All DRE Technologies

Why off-grid technologies are key in bridging the digital divide amid COVID-19

An estimated 1.3 billion pupils have experienced school closures across 186 countries due to COVID-19. Millions of children in Africa and Asia do not have access to digital learning devices or even electricity. As we mark this year’s World Children’s Day, off-grid energy technologies are urgently needed to ensure learning continuity for every child.

From global to local: building energy-smart local food systems post-COVID era

Achieving food security, economic development and poverty reduction remain elusive goals without sustainable energy access. As we mark World Food Day and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, FAO, Khethworks, Krishi Star, IFPRI and others weigh in on the opportunities for building climate-smart local food systems that grow rural economies and reduce food insecurity.

Fact Sheet: COVID impact at a glance

Our Platform for Energy Access Knowledge (PEAK) compiled a two-page overview of the socio-economic impact of COVID on the energy access sector, and highlights how some countries are responding by leveraging recent advances in decentralized renewables.

Podcast: Scaling Low Carbon Innovation

The winners of the 2020 Ashden Awards will be celebrated virtually on 2 July. Harriet Lamb, Ashden CEO, talks to Power for All about the macro-trends that Ashden has seen over time in energy access innovation.

Data for Energy Access: A PEAK into Power for All's Research Engine

Our PEAK Platform is an inter­ac­tive infor­ma­tion exchange plat­form designed to help aggre­gate and repack­age the best research and infor­ma­tion on energy access into com­pelling data-driven sto­ries. The team behind PEAK shares what the future holds for the Platform and how it is evolving.

Off-Grid Renewable Energy Sector Response to COVID-19

Power for All has created a comprehensive roundup that highlights the response to COVID-19 by the decentralized renewable energy sector, including a new €100 million recovery fund and technical assistance opportunities, but also what steps are being taken by WHO and others to accelerate electrification of rural health facilities.

Top trends for energy access in 2020

There are just 10 years left to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What will 2020 hold for the decentralized renewable energy sector as we enter the "decade of action"? Power for All identifies 10 top trends that you need to gear up for in our annual list of predictions.

Research Summary: Deploying 4,000-plus solar storage mini-grids in Nigeria

Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) new report showcases a pathway to implementing undergrid mini-grids that has the potential to save electricity distribution companies and communities millions of dollars while dramatically expanding the market for distributed energy resources in Nigeria.

3 pathways to powering agriculture in Nigeria

Nigeria's post-harvest losses are put at $9 billion, accounting for nearly 70% of global post-harvest loss due to lack of power to drive agro-allied processing. Powering agriculture with decentralized clean energy solutions can play a critical role in reducing food losses and increasing farmers’ revenues.

Decade in review: energy access got “woke”

As we move into the third decade of the 21st century, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on the past 10 years, and appreciate the big impact that small, decentralized renewable energy solutions have made.

Myanmar mini-grids near 100; market at growth cross-roads

To understand mini-grid utilization trends, Smart Power Myanmar’s Applied Energy Lab is analyzing data on consumer demand for appliances to increase confidence in data, strengthen utilization rates and maximize investor confidence. Here are the key findings.

Decentralized, off-grid solar-powered irrigation systems in the Global South

Solar irrigation pumps are able to boost agricultural productivity, help farmers become more climate-resilient and increase their income, however, the environmental and societal trade-offs from these innovations require further scrutiny.

Solar irrigation helps farmers battle climate-induced droughts

To advance productivity in Rwanda’s agricultural sector, Energy 4 Impact launched a project that seeks to create the conditions for a sustainable solar irrigation market by increasing awareness, availability and affordability of appropriate technologies among 3,000 smallholder farmers.

12 (not so) obvious insights about DRE for productive use

Over the last decade, decentralized clean energy solutions have provided basic access to lighting for hundreds of millions of people. The next decade will be about moving beyond lighting to solutions that increase productivity. Here's a list of key issues to watch.

Powering clean farm-to-fork solutions for a #zerohunger world

More than 40% of food loss in emerging economies occurs during post-harvest and processing. A reliable cold chain is crucial for food security and improved livelihoods. Distributed renewables have a major role to play.

Humanitarian energy is in growing demand

With unprecedented levels of global displacement, there is an urgent need for continued and growing efforts in support of these vulnerable groups, especially in the growing field of humanitarian energy.

OPINION: Franchising the new paradigm for PAYG solar

The pay-as-you-go (PAYG) market for scaling access to solar energy is maturing quickly. Building market share through customer acquisition is no longer the top priority, being replaced by cost efficiency and portfolio management. More savvy funders are now embracing consolidation, thoughtful expansion or franchising. The era of the PAYG start-up is dead.

SDG7 needs greater South-South cooperation

As the United Nations gathers in New York to deliberate climate action and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), including SDG7, we must ask ourselves: how is the Global South best served?

Is off-grid solar lighting still relevant in India?

IFC Lighting Asia experts Anjali Garg, Brendon Mendonca and Salman Zahir weigh in on new opportunities amid uncertain times

Micro-grids reshaping energy in Lebanon

Lebanon suffers from sporadic electricity supply. An aging grid, a lack of domestic fuel supply, and political sectarianism has rendered electricity both intermittent and expensive. Thousands of diesel generators struggle to meet the shortfall but have not been able to keep pace with demand. Today Lebanon finds itself one of the three most indebted countries in the world with one third of its budget deficit going toward fuel subsidies.

Harvesting energy means breaking down silos

2 billion smallholder farmers are among the most underserved populations in the world. Better access to clean energy has the ability to transform agriculture and speed econonic development, says Factor[e], but financial, operational, technical, and policy barriers need to be overcome.

Diesel is dying in rural economies: data

Long the only choice for off-grid, under-the-grid and back-up power generation in emerging economies, diesel is now on a death watch with the rise of renewable-powered machinery, growing solar adoption by rural enterprises, and business and finance innovation. That means billions of dollars saved and gigatons of emissions avoided.

2 Keys to Scaling Energy Access

Distributed renewables play an increasingly important role in promoting energy access, already accounting for 6 gigawatts of capacity in the developing world, with an expectation of providing over 60% of new electricity connections in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. New analysis in Escaping the Energy Poverty Trap shows that national governments need two things to succeed in creating markets for distributed renewables: 1) institutional capacity and 2) local accountability mechanisms.

Mini-grids boost women entrepreneurship; up to 11x income rise

A new study in Ghana by Power Africa and Energicity, the parent company of solar mini-grid developer Black Star Energy (BSE), has revealed significant impact of electricity access on women-owned businesses and incomes, including helping them move from extreme poverty to near middle class status, while allowing them to stay in their rural communities.

Mini-Grids: Myanmar’s Next Decentralized Technology Revolution

Decentralized electricity generation systems such as mini-grids avoid the high cost of bringing electricity long distances by constructing small-scale power plants right next to the point of consumption.

Middle-Income Countries Big Winner from Off-Grid Energy. Who’s Next?

As demonstrated in by new data from IRENA, off-grid renewable electricity has grown tremendously across the world over the last decade, but growth was very uneven. Why was off-grid successful in some places and not others?

Six Nuclear Reactors Worth of Off-Grid Renewable Energy Deployed in Last 10 Years—But Sub-Saharan Africa Lagging

The deployment of off-grid electricity is one important pathway toward reducing energy poverty. Off-grid technology can meet basic needs at an increasingly affordable cost and, when powered by renewable sources, in a clean manner. Yet until recently, we knew little about the current state of affairs: how much capacity do off-grid systems currently provide? And where?

What we mean by “productive use”—and why it matters.

Productive use is one of the hottest buzzwords in the world of energy access today, increasingly used by development banks, industry leaders, and civil society organizations (among others!) as the work to deliver energy to 1 billion people evolves beyond just lighting. But what does “productive use” of energy actually mean?

A mini-grid market opportunity assessment of Cameroon

SEforAll Africa hub in conjunction with the African Development Bank recently published a Mini-Grid Market Opportunity Assessment of Cameroon as part of the Green Mini-Grid Market Development Programme (GMG MDP) document series.

Electricity access must be climate resilient

Given the speed and scale with which climate impacts are being felt around the globe, emerging economies—or any economy for that matter—no longer have the luxury of planning for their energy systems as though climate change doesn’t matter and won’t impact it in fundamental ways.

Top trends for energy access in 2018

Power for All’s Willie Brent attended the recent GOGLA Global Off-Grid Solar Forum, to hear the latest on the distributed solar revolution. Besides a new report that said the sector has already impacted 360 million lives and would reach $8 billion in revenue by 2022, here are some other takeaways.

Waste Biomass Power Set to Surge in India

Solar energy has received most of the attention in India’s ongoing energy transition. But the country’s draft National Energy Policy (NEP) has called for putting greater resources behind projects that convert waste agricultural biomass into electricity.

Virtually Battery-Free, 100% Renewable, Remotely-Managed Rural Utility Is Coming

Husk Power Systems, an early pioneer in developing micro-grids for poor, rural communities in India and sub-Saharan Africa, plans a 7-fold increase in its power plants to 600 within 5 years, expanding into a fully-fledged rural utility that delivers reliable 24/7 grid-compatible power and better customer service than incumbent utilities.

5 Untapped Apps of Solar Irrigation

The benefits of solar pumps are not restricted to irrigation, in India and globally. Besides reducing pollution and emissions by replacing diesel generators, they can deliver many other applications, which is critical in India, a country where agriculture accounts for 15% of GDP and more than 50% of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.

SELCO: Scaling rural electrification via bank capacity building

The biggest frustration voiced by enterprises looking to deliver last-mile electricity connections to the rural poor is lack of finance. To solve this major roadblock to scale, SELCO Foundation has developed an innovative program that has nothing to do with money. It focuses instead on people and process. Sound boring? Not at all, and it may be a key to fully unlocking the distributed energy transition sweeping the world.

Claro Energy: scaling solar irrigation in India (and Africa)

India's market for solar pumps for irrigation and drinking water was virtually non-existent in 2011, when Claro Energy was founded. But recent attention from federal and state governments, including subsidies, has created a $700 million annual market that is set to expand rapidly.

Change Minds, Activate Markets

In a recent Power for All survey of leading decentralized renewable energy (DRE) companies (stay tuned for full results in March), marketing campaigns were pinpointed as “crucial for raising awareness about the benefits” of DRE—with the majority of respondents ranking them first in importance for effective market building programs. In line with both research on reaching base-of-the-pyramid consumers, and the clear upward trajectory of energy access following consumer awareness campaigns, the survey results inspired us to look more closely at the question: What makes a successful DRE awareness campaign? Luckily, there are some impressive examples.

Notes from the Frontline: Devergy

This week, Power for All partner Devergy shared an honest, tell-all look at the difficulties they faced when raising awareness of their solar micro-grid technology in rural communities, and the hard work they put in to creating solutions. Read their first-hand account of the challenges they countered attracting new customers, and how they have turned challenges into opportunity.

4 E's: Here Come the Utilities

Long filed under “corporate social responsibility” (CSR), 2017 will mark the year when decentralized renewable energy (DRE) attains legitimacy among the world’s leading utilities as a strategic, core business opportunity.

Beyond Lighting: New Year, New Breakthroughs

“The interest we’re seeing in this round of the Global LEAP Awards, particularly in the innovation prize for off-grid refrigerators, is amazing.” A conversation with Matt Jordan, Director at CLASP, an NGO that leads several programs in support of the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), is like lifting the lid on a whole new world of possibility: the demand side of energy access, and specifically the role of high-quality, highly efficient appliances. 2017 looks set to be the year this giant market opportunity will burst out of strategy meetings and into the spotlight.

Why the World Needs Decentralized Renewable Energy

Over 1 billion people do not have access to reliable, affordable electricity; they are often forced to turn to polluting, hazardous, and expensive solutions like kerosene, charcoal and diesel in order to fuel their lives.

5 Reasons Decentralized Renewables are a Trump Card for Climate Change and Energy Access

At COP22 the shock of last week’s unexpected election results has many worried that a Trump presidency could jeopardize climate finance and climate action. So it is a good time to remember why the global community, including the United States, must redouble its efforts in support of decentralized renewable energy (DRE). Here are 5 reasons:

Decentralized renewables: the front line against climate change

As climate negotiators gather in Marrakech for COP22, we must shine a spotlight on the world’s 1.1 billion people living without electricity, not only because they are the most vulnerable to climate change, but because they also offer a roadmap for the rest of the world on how to build a decentralized, democratized clean energy future. This roadmap would achieve universal energy access and, by 2030, eliminate a gigaton of CO2e each year—equal to eliminating the emissions of Germany, the world’s 4th largest economy.

Decentralized solar is on fire in India

Small and rooftop solar is the fastest growing clean energy sector in India, with a blistering 92 percent compound annual growth rate over the past four years, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) released today. The segment will continue to see high growth rates, given ambitious government targets (40GW of rooftop solar by 2020), specific rooftop solar policy in most states including net-metering, new business models being tried by entrepreneurial companies and an increasing availability of debt and equity, the report said.

Mini-Grid Momentum on the Rise

Last week saw the launch of the new Africa Development Bank Green Mini-Grid (GMG) Help Desk to build momentum behind the continent’s clean energy development. The Help Desk—operated by Energy4Impact and INENSUS GmbH as part of the SE4All Green Mini Grid Market Development Program—provides catalytic support to the GMG sector. The launch comes as new research anticipates a 60% reduction in the cost of solar PV mini-grids, and as policy-maker support for GMGs has seen rapid growth around the world—notably in India and Nigeria, the countries with the world’s largest number of people living without electricity.

Off-Grid Fridge Contest Makes Energy Efficiency "Cool" Again

The 1.4 billion domestic refrigerators and freezers in use worldwide each consume an average annual 450 kWh of electricity, accounting for almost 14 percent of total household electricity consumption. As we work to end energy poverty for 1.1 billion people worldwide, those numbers are sure to rise.

Insight: 5 World-Changing Energy Access Innovations

Energy access is not just about powering homes and businesses, but creating the energy needed to meet every one of our Sustainable Development Goals. These pioneering decentralized renewable solutions have the potential to plug billions into the information age, combat the biggest global threat to children's health and provide clean water to millions. Check out these five innovations that could help change the world.

Decentralized Renewables & The Rise of the Micro-Enterprise Economy

Decentralized renewable energy has traditionally been under-estimated in emerging markets as only being capable of delivering electricity for home use, and then mostly for basic lighting. “Productive use”—creating goods and services either directly or indirectly for the production of income or value—has been more elusive.

Why is one of the world's richest countries deconstructing its grid?

Critics of "off-grid", or decentralized, energy like to say it is not "real" power. These critics prefer centralized energy solutions. But this preference is often both mis-guided and out-dated, especially as the global community attempts to achieve universal energy access by 2030 - i.e. provide electricity for the first time to 1.1 billion people worldwide. Most of those people are poor, and most live in remote areas. How - and when - they get electricity has massive implications - on climate impact, on economic development, on national security, on quality of life and also on energy infrastructure resilience and sustainability.