US and partners make fresh commitments to off-grid electrification

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Email

US president Barack Obama’s administration has made several commitments to improving access to electricity in developing nations, including a US$75 million loan guarantee through the Power Africa programme.

The raft of commitments and projects announced by the White House yesterday include a range of private and public organisations across a number of countries, involving a significant number of companies in solar and related fields. According to a White House release, there are 1.3 billion people in the world who lack access to electricity, but the picture is rapidly changing, with nearly 7.5 million “small-scale” solar products sold in Africa in 2014 – a huge leap from the 40,000 or so sold in 2009. Meanwhile, the cost of LED-based lights and other solar equipment has fallen 70% in the years between 2011 and 2014.

The US has partnered directly with the governments of Benin, Bangladesh and Kenya on the overall off-grid programme, with each government making a varying level of commitments, which include:

  • The US DoE, which has through its various sub-departments held innovation competitions and accelerator programmes in solar including the Sunshot Initiative, will launch the next round of Global LEAP, a competition to discover and promote “super-efficient, high quality off-grid fans and televisions”. The White House also said that 19 public and private sector groups had added their names to endorsing the “Global LEAP Guiding Principles” – encouraging governments, non-profits and private companies to “work together to scale-up commercial markets for low-cost quality assured off-grid devices”. Renewable energy companies including Off-Grid Electric and SunEdison were among the new sign-ups.

  • The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will loan more than US$20 million to get solar into 90,000 households in Kenya and Nigeria.

  • US foreign aid agency, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, will fund US$46 million of off-grid power in Benin.

  • The US$75 million in loans to be offered through Power Africa, co-ordinated by the US Agency for International Development.

In total, the White House claimed, yesterdays’ announced commitments will provide electrical access off-grid to “more than 500 million people by 2020” and prevent over 350 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by that time. In total, over US$125 million in new funding for clean energy was announced yesterday, “…advancing the deployment of over 170 million new off-grid, energy-efficient, standalone and scalable products,” the White House statement said.

The White House also said the announcements yesterday were important in the context of the forthcoming Paris COP21 talks, where nations will be called upon to decide a unified approach to tackling climate change.

“Coming just a month before the Paris negotiations, these actions underscore our commitment to ensuring all countries have the opportunity to power economic growth based on clean, sustainable energy solutions,” the statement said.

SolarCity-affiliated Off-Grid Electric’s US$25 million Series C round

Also as the news went out yesterday, one of the companies that committed to endorsing the Global LEAP principles, Off-Grid Electric, said it had raised US$25 million in a Series C funding round for work in Rwanda and Tanzania.

Investment in that round was led by DBL Partners, which was among the early investors of SolarCity, while its two founders, Nancy Pfund and Ihra Ehrenpreis, were also early to back Tesla. DBL operates on a principle of providing returns for investors through projects and enterprises that have a positive social impact.

The SolarCity connection does not end there, SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive is also on the board of Off-Grid Electric.

26 September 2022
The WCPEC is the world’s biggest platform for PV research and development, offering a unique possibility of international exchange by combining the three largest and most prominent international PV conferences: the European PV Solar Energy Conference (EU PVSEC), the Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (IEEE PVSC) and the International PV Science and Engineering Conference (PVSEC). In 2022, Europe has the honour to host the 8th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion, interchanging the prestigious EU PVSEC for this year, that is being held annually for more than 40 years. After being in place for more than a quarter of a century, the WCPEC, being held every four years, is firmly established among the global PV community as THE event for the greatest minds and experts in various PV sectors to meet and discuss, to exchange and network! The conference programme is coordinated by the European Commission Joint Research Centre.
27 September 2022
The demand for rooftop solar PV is soaring, driven by falling costs of the technology against energy crises that are gripping countries globally. But while an increasing number of households turn to solar to generate their own electricity, there is now a need for more specialist equipment, technologies and services to ensure the solar transition can reach as many customers as possible. Delivering these is now a major challenge for rooftop solar installers. This webinar will analyse the characteristics of the rooftop solar market, discussing how the products, logistics, installation and servicing of solar systems has evolved in line with consumer demands.
4 October 2022
Solar & Storage Finance USA, the only event that connects developers to capital and capital to solar and storage projects, will be back in November 2022.
11 October 2022
RE+ Florida returns in 2022. Solar & Energy Storage Florida is now RE+ Florida! This premier event for the Sunshine State will return October 11-12, 2022 in Miami.
11 October 2022
PV CellTech Extra will be held as a series of live webinars and on-demand sessions on 11-13 October 2022. We'll be taking a slightly further forward-looking view at the technologies and roadmaps for new cell architectures set to dominate mass production during 2023-2025 with special emphasis on the potential timelines for technologies beyond the single-junction cell design, including perovskite and hybrid concepts.
13 October 2022
The 2022 ACORE Grid Forum is a one-day event that convenes regulators, renewable, storage and transmission companies, and other leading grid experts in Washington, D.C. Speakers will examine the roles of administrative orders and actions, infrastructure policy, regional and state developments, and private sector strategies on the path to a carbon-free grid.

Read Next

September 23, 2022
India’s government has approved the second round of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to incentivise domestic solar PV module manufacturing.
PV Tech Premium
September 23, 2022
Plans for a temporary revenue cap on solar PV assets across the European Union (EU) could dent investor confidence in renewables, experts have warned, amid concerns that individual member states may be able to set lower caps specific to different technologies.
September 23, 2022
Solar accounted for half of all global power generating capacity added last year, with 182GW deployed, a 25% increase on 2020, according to a report from BloombergNEF (BNEF).
PV Tech Premium
September 23, 2022
Community solar in the US is projected to grow substantially over the next decade and represents a means of expanding access to underserved communities who are being left out of the energy transition. Sean Rai-Roche explores the drivers of community solar and what obstacles need to be overcome to support its rollout.
September 22, 2022
The RE+ tradeshow has been full of hope, excitement but also short-term questions as the industry considers the significance of the IRA.
PV Tech Premium
September 22, 2022
The war in Ukraine, approaching its eighth month, is having an extremely detrimental effect on the country's solar sector.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
September 27, 2022
15:30 AEST (UTC +10)
Solar Media Events
October 4, 2022
New York, USA
On-Demand Webinars, Solar Media Events
October 11, 2022
Virtual event
Upcoming Webinars
October 18, 2022
10am (EDT) / 4pm (CEST)