All Technologies

Meet the Unsung Heroes: Women at the forefront of scaling energy access

Women can and do play a critical role in scaling energy access due to their local knowledge and leadership. Power for All is taking action by sharing profiles of exceptional women who are at the forefront of scaling energy access, yet are unknown to the outside world. From Sierra Leone, Nepal to Haiti, meet 21 women making a difference

Power for All’s 2021 top trends for energy access

2021 is a critical year on many fronts: food systems, healthcare, economic recovery and job creation, climate action, and much more. Decentralized renewables will have a major role to play in all of them. In our annual energy access trends forecast, we consulted multiple sources and identified what are the market movers that will drive progress in energy access finance, technology, policy and capacity.

Vaccine cold chain is the beginning, not the end, for rural healthcare

Vaccine cold chain only a first step Refrigation for vaccines is essential to achieve global equity in the fight against COVID, but to ensure universal health care requires service-based models, a standardized and affordable supply chain of off-grid medical devices, and much great inter-sectoral collaboration to power 10s of thousands of unelectrified clinics.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.