Interfacing the off-grid sector and finance

Marcus Wiemann, Executive Director, ARE

ElectriFI launches a EUR 10 m Renewable Energy Investment Scheme in Côte d’Ivoire

Jean-Denis Collin, Senior Investment Officer & Côte d’Ivoire Country Window Lead, ElectriFI

ElectriFI, the EU-funded energy access impact investment facility, launched a EUR 10 million country window dedicated to the Ivorian renewable energy market. ElectriFI global country windows are managed by the Brussels-based EDFI Management Company, the fund manager of the 15 European Development Finance Institutions. 

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In line with the Paris Agreement, Côte d’Ivoire announced a target of a 28% reduction of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In addition, the Ivorian government intends to complete the universal access to electricity by 2025. This EUR 10 million investment is aligned with those ambitions. It not only aims to empower investors and entrepreneurs active in the nascent Ivorian renewable energy market but also to catalyse new sources of funding.

As highlighted by Dominiek Deconinck – ElectriFI Fund Manager – and Jean-Denis Collin – ElectriFI Senior Investment Officer – during the 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Abidjan, this new capital will target both the off-grid and on-grid sectors, with an unmatched flexibility in terms of financing, offering both equity and debt financing. In Côte d’Ivoire, ElectriFI will mostly apply to projects leading to new and improved connections to electricity for populations living in under-served and remote areas. Sustainable and economically viable agri-biomass projects as well as urban captive power producers servicing commercial and industrial off-takers are also to be part of the dedicated strategy for the country. By 2022, this investment aims to connect thousands of households and local businesses to reliable, affordable and clean sources of electricity. It is also expected to generate new business opportunities. Finally, other financiers will benefit from ElectriFI’s guiding principles of additionality and neutrality; helping to de-risk and attract private investments in the Ivorian renewable energy market.

This EUR 10 million country window is one of the first to be launched by ElectriFI which is currently developing the pipeline of investments. Concrete transactions are scheduled in 2020.

For more information, please consult our websites: &


RECP transitions into GET.invest

Participants of the 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum might have wondered about the Forum’s new partner GET.invest. The programme – supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and Austria – continues the work of the former Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) to mobilise investments in renewable energy.

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Renewable energy technologies have become increasingly commercially viable and are often the least expensive option to provide millions of people in rural areas with sustainable energy. Linking project and business development with financing – and thereby reaching financial close earlier – is however a persistent challenge. In early 2019, GET.invest picked up the RECP’s mission to mobilise investments in decentralised renewable energy. It stimulates partnerships and new investments and helps existing projects to get ready for financing.

Project developers and financiers can turn to GET.invest for a wide range of services. The programme provides market information, supports projects and businesses with obtaining access to finance, and organises B2B networking events with partners. Industry associations such as ARE play a key role in GET.invest’s approach to build sustainable market and information infrastructures.

One of GET.invest’s core services is the Finance Catalyst, which provides advisory support on project development, project structuring and accessing finance, leveraging the know-how of a dedicated team of experts.

The GET.invest programme was designed to deliver more impact in the market through a streamlined service portfolio, a broadened thematic scope now including energy efficiency and clean cooking, and a wider geographic mandate. While the focus will remain on sub-Saharan Africa, work in other African, Caribbean and Pacific regions is in preparation.

Visit the website to learn more, and stay up to date by following GET.invest on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Boosting access to off-grid energy with inclusive finance

Off-grid solutions are an imperative answer for providing affordable electricity to poor communities in remote areas, and to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7). This is widely recognised. However, attracting finance for off-grid energy technologies has proven to be a challenge, especially in remote areas. Off-grid energy has received only a fraction of annual global investments earmarked for energy provision.

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The reasons for the lack of investments –public and private– in off-grid solutions are numerous: from actual and perceived risks (political and economic) and shortage of proven business models for private investors, to a lack of clear and stable regulatory frameworks and policies favouring decentralised energy. Furthermore, off-grid energy access solutions are often considered too small-scale, and do not match the large sums of finance on offer by investors or donors.

Aggregating finance

To overcome barriers and close the financing gap, new ‘inclusive’ financing mechanisms are required. They must address market and business concerns, address the issue of scale and foster favorable environments. One of the mechanisms emerging is that of ‘financial aggregation’. Aggregating is the exercise of bundling into clusters. Aggregating finance, therefore, is the pooling of capital into one investment portfolio, but aggregating also refers to aggregation on the demand side. That is, merging several projects into a single investment vehicle (to achieve scale), or aggregating customer demand whereby households cluster their needs to procure energy services in bulk.

Pooling capital may refer solely to public or private money, but more often combines the two and ‘blends’ finance. Ample successful examples of this aggregation from private and public finance exist. This recently published policy brief by Hivos and IIED shows how developments in the off-grid energy sector took off in Nepal and Bangladesh using a combination of grants, subsidies and concessionary loans. In both cases, the government took the lead and involved actors ranging from donors to private companies and commercial banks and disbursed the funding according to local circumstances.

Examples of commercial aggregators exist as well. SunFunder, a solar energy financial intermediary, for instance, blends finance from private investors, DFIs and impact investors into funds that invest in diversified portfolios.

The risk of focusing on private investments

While finance aggregation and blending can boost investments into the off-grid energy sector, we should be careful with concentrating all of our efforts on pulling in private investments. We should especially be mindful of the value for public money and the effective allocation of Official Development Assistance (ODA). The Latest research from ODI concludes that there is a risk of “skewing ODA from its core agenda of helping eradicate poverty in poorest countries.” Moreover, EU’s financing instrument ElectriFI, for example, promised to attract a crowd of private investors to support electrification projects but then failed to truly achieve this for poor and remote areas (see ECDPM – Hivos publication on EU financial instruments for energy access). The financial attractiveness of such projects for the private sector is simply too low.  

Grant funding

All “new” financial mechanisms aside, subsidies remain crucial and should not be ruled out. This is especially so in the context of poor and remote areas where projects are not fully economically viable, markets are not yet activated and customers do not have spare money to invest in technologies sold by the private sector. Subsidies come in many forms but - whether subsidising upfront costs, subsidising ongoing energy costs or using subsidies to mobilise more private investments - subsidies should always benefit the most remote and poorest areas with basic services. These basic services will not be delivered without public support and subsidies can optimise the use of public funds, as well as prevent market distortion. These subsidies are necessary until the market situation reaches a point where business can thrive and customers can pay for their services.

Finding the right mix

In summary, when it comes to financing off-grid energy, new financing arrangements should be considered. Aggregating finance, whether public or private or both, as well as subsidies in a variety of forms - terms and time constraint - can remove some of the main barriers for investment, hence close the financing gap to leave no one behind.


Crowdinvesting opens the door to solar energy use in Kenya's flower sector

When Grace Nyachae wanted to power her Kenyan flower farm Simbi Roses with solar energy, her efforts were blocked by a lack of available finance. A number of solar companies were keen to work on the project, but they all required a large upfront payment before any work could start, which wasn’t suitable for Grace.

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Then she was approached by ecoligo. The solar-as-a-service company offered Grace a system that was fully financed on the crowdinvesting platform This meant that Grace wouldn’t have to pay a large sum upfront to buy the solar system or worry about its maintenance. Instead she would just pay a fixed monthly fee until the ownership of the solar system is transferred to her at the end of the solar-as-a-service contract. This was ideal for Grace and construction of a 150 kWp solar PV system is now underway at the Simbi Roses farm.

ecoligo’s co-founders, Martin Baart and Markus Schwaninger, had both been working for different companies in the past that had tried to enable Simbi Roses to be powered by solar. For them, this was just one example of countless projects that they had seen prevented by a lack of suitable finance for such system sizes. When they met at a solar conference in Kenya in 2013, they decided to do something about it. ecoligo was founded to close the finance gap and realise projects for business owners like Grace.

The flower industry, which is a huge contributor to Kenya’s GDP, is particularly well suited to using self-consumption solar systems to cover their daytime energy needs. As floriculture relies on the natural environment, industry leaders are needed to set the trend towards sustainable energy use, which is a vital pillar of environmental protection.

Simbi Roses is not alone in this. Rift Valley Roses and Live Wire, two flower farms in Naivasha, are also benefiting from ecoligo’s solution. In total, their PV systems have a capacity of 175 kWp and will save 164 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

The inauguration of the 75 kWp Rift Valley Roses project will be on the 9 May 2019 at the farm in Naivasha. Interested parties are welcome to request an invitation by emailing Emma Patmore.

In addition to Kenya, where ecoligo has recently opened its East African hub, ecoligo is developing projects in Ghana and Costa Rica. ecoligo’s activities in Kenya are part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.


CROWD CREDIT achieved debt fund raising USD 2.3 million for off-grid start-up companies

CROWD CREDIT, a debt based crowdfunding platform in Japan has been accelerating the debt finance to off-grid start-up companies since September 2018, and successfully financed from 3,500 of registered Japanese retail investors. The loan of more than USD 2.3 million reached to five companies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the company will continue to invest into the off-grid sector to support the development of the industry. 

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CROWD CREDIT is a crowdfunding platform that connects capital demand and supply on a global base. The company has cumulatively raised USD 151 million in loan funds from retail investors in Japan since its service launch in June 2014 to finance borrowers mainly in emerging countries. 

CROWD CREDIT funds can propose the funding demand among off-grid start-ups, namely PAYG model companies, between the inventory procurement and the repayment completion as attractive investment opportunities to investors in Japan. 

Many venture companies in the off-grid sector that seek for rapid growth in developing countries launch their business with a subsidy or a grant from international organisation; while, those public funding would not be sufficient nor flexible enough to accelerate the business for a commercial level.  On the other hand, the bank loans are scarce for start-up companies, and the borrower needs to bear foreign currency risks when it borrows overseas loans in US dollar or in Euro from foreign financiers. 

CROWD CREDIT could be one of solutions for those companies with 3-5 years operation records in rapid expansion stage because of the following unique services;

  • Regular and continued funding every two weeks
  • Local currency denominated finance

As a crowdfunding platform, it is possible for CROWD CREDIT to repeat the funding projects as long as the investment conditions are attractive to the retail investors and the borrower sustains a financial strength. In fact, in the environment with zero interest rate policy, foreign currency denominated investment products with relatively higher interest rate are enthusiastically welcomed by the investors in Japan.  Moreover, CROWD CREDIT has an experienced foreign exchange trading team that proposes optimised interest rate in local currency for the borrowers in developing countries. 

In addition to the unique service model, CROWD CREDIT expects the favourable regulatory reform for off-grid ventures in Japan. 

It has been forbidden in the crowdfunding service to disclose the information that identifies the borrowers, aiming at the borrower protection from the investors; that makes the borrowers difficult to appeal their social impact. 

However, it is said that the animosity caused several cases of fraud, and the Japanese authority decided to relieve the regulation seemingly in May 2019 in exchange for further transparent information of the borrowers to protect the investors interest. 

Taking this reform as an opportunity, CROWD CREDIT expects to have more off-grid ventures to raise funds from its funding service in the 2nd half of this year.


Streamlined due diligences for transactions in rural electrification

In the last few years, the appetite for investing in access-to-energy players has been growing from impact and commercial investors. Cost erosion in solar, wind, and energy storage technology is creating new opportunities for the electrification of rural areas. Intermittent renewable energy from solar, wind or hydro solutions might be balanced by integrating energy storage, biomass or diesel generators. Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solutions allow for innovative business models with mobile payment options.

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Utilities like E.ON and ENGIE have built up mini-grid capabilities from scratch. Technology firms, such as Facebook and Microsoft, support mini-grid development: they have set up the Microgrid Investment Accelerator — a US$50 million support vehicle. Finally, foundations like the Shell Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation foster mini-grid improvement. These activities have triggered interest from many new investors. Sometimes, a gap between the status quo and expectations is apparent.

Typically, investors realise this within rather costly due diligence processes. Rural electrification companies must also take significant efforts to collect and present relevant information that is tailor-made for the needs of investors. In addition, they are required to disclose critical information during the process.

THEnergy has been consulting investors in rural electrification-related due diligence processes lately and has developed a streamlined approach that will significantly cut costs on both sides. The objective is to make the process for future due diligences more efficient and to reduce transaction costs.

The new methodology is based on the experience that, typically, a few factors are critical during the acquisition process. Before the main process starts, THEnergy provides detailed market information to investors which helps to manage their expectations and to select investment targets that correspond to their needs.

The streamlined due diligence itself is a staged approach. According to the specific needs of a particular investor, the most critical analysis is performed first. The approach also takes into consideration, the costs of different stages of the due diligence. E.g. the analysis of remote monitoring data plays an important role and sites visits will be only conducted at a later process stage.

The new approach will make funding for mini-grid players more cost-effective and will contribute to quicker growth. It can also be applied similarly to evaluate and optimize existing investments in mini-grid players.

For more details regarding THEnergy’s consulting service in rural electrification, please have a look at our microgrid consulting services or rural electrification consulting services.


Quest for universal energy: What is the role of public funds?

Every hour, enough energy to power the earth for an entire year comes from the sun. New technology is ready to harness that power as the global community transitions to alternative energy sources. For many (but not all) in developing countries, access to energy is an afterthought. Most people don't stop to think about the energy that powers their homes or charges their phones.

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For over a billion people in Africa and Asia, access to electricity is a distant dream. Without access to energy, people have to struggle to complete daily tasks. Children can't study longer when their only source of light is daytime. Communities can't rely on health services when equipment does not work due to power cuts. Countries cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if their citizens cannot power their dreams.

The lack of electricity is more likely for remote and rural communities. Expanding grid electricity is time consuming and too expensive for investments to reap a return.

The good news; rapid developments in technology for off-grid solar make access to energy for all possible.

Combined with innovative finance mechanisms, those technological advancements can reach the last-mile. In our energy ladder research in Uganda, most people found grid electricity to be unsafe. In the same research, the majority of people expressed their desire for off-grid solar solutions. Client surveys in Nepal tell the same story; people who access off-grid solutions save money and are more satisfied than grid options.

Getting off-grid energy solutions to rural and remote communities is difficult. Companies in the off-grid market need capital to innovate and expand their reach into these areas. But capital markets prefer to invest in opportunities that have quick returns. This does not bode well for expanding energy access to communities perceived as too small and 'unbankable'.

That is where public funding plays a vital role. The private sector will drive the future of off-grid solar energy. But like many innovations before it, public funds will play a key role in catalysing that future. Official Development Assistance (ODA) can overcome the capital gaps and invest in riskier ventures. The backing of ODA can motivate private sector to invest and test new business models that expand energy access.

The UNCDF CleanStart Challenge Fund platform provides this service. It leverages donor funds to co-invest with private sector in innovative business models for energy access. Without the initial investment from public funds, these business models may never have taken hold. For example, our co-investment allowed Greenlight Planet to test and adapt its model to the Myanmar market. Now, the company has a presence in the country, providing energy services to communities previously beyond reach.

Benefits go beyond leveraging public funds. As a neutral institution, UNCDF offers each of its investments access to market data and technical support to succeed. When asked, many companies we have invested in point out the challenge in building local partnerships or accessing and analyzing data to understand market contexts.

An individual company can't solve these issues. With our existing local partnerships and pool of knowledge resources, we can provide the support needed for companies to succeed. For example, our energy ladder research provides insight on how companies can market products to increase purchases.

The next steps will be to transform how we use public funds. At the moment, public funding is often used for one-off grants. Our experience suggests companies need blended finance offerings, including equity and debt, to scale businesses. The UNCDF LDC Investment Platform is an important mechanism to meet this need. This new platform provides seed funding to investments in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the form of loans and guarantees (in addition to reimbursable grants). With its new offering of financial instruments, UNCDF CleanStart is engaging with its pipeline of energy companies in an expanded way.

Universal access to clean and affordable energy is possible. The technology and financing mechanisms make it a goal worth chasing. The private sector will lead the charge. But public funding and platforms like the UNCDF CleanStart Challenge Fund give the nudge needed to ensure last-mile communities are not left behind.

Swarm-electrification: could it be a game-changer?

The electrification rate across Sub-Saharan Africa remains way too slow, despite an observed willingness and ability to pay for better energy services. While there are many challenges to be addressed, one reason for the slow pace of rural electrification is related to the risks associated with inappropriate sizing of a standalone grid. Swarm-electrification could be the right answer in the many cases where future demand is highly uncertain.

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The sizing problem

When visiting existing solar mini-grids in Africa, you often hear similar problems. The installation is either too big and not profitable, or too small resulting in unstable grids with frequent dropouts. 

Attempts to recover from an oversized investment generally includes a range of demand-stimulating initiatives requiring extra investments and hence lead to an even bigger risk exposure.

Correcting the size of a too small grid often leads to the replacement of already installed components and is typically as complicated as starting all-over.

While correctly forecasting the immediate short-term energy demand is not so difficult, forecasting the demand evolution on the mid-term is very complicated. It largely depends on the take-off of productive use cases which in turn depends on numerous factors that - for a large part - are not yet fully understood and still require further research.  Therefore, despite the availability of numerous forecasting models, a correct forecast of the energy demand evolution remains one of the major risks that a solar mini-grid developer is facing.

The incertitude of future demand also leads many investors to require the presence of bankable anchor clients willing to purchase any surplus energy. All those elements lead to a sector that progresses at a very slow pace and that is focused around identifying rural areas with high growth potential, leaving many thousands of rural communities in the dark. 

Demand-driven business model

But what would happen if a solution existed that would allow the industry to move away from the current building-ahead-of-demand strategy? A solution of which the profitability would no longer be conditional to a strong demand-growth? Where the presence of anchor clients would no longer be required? A mini-grid architecture where extra capacity could simply be plugged in, not requiring scarce engineering skills nor the replacement of any of the already installed components?

Such game-changing demand-driven business models are now possible and announce themselves as the future for mini-grids in all those villages where demand evolution is highly uncertain.

FlexGrid, an easy replicable and rapid-scaleable 230V AC-grid

FlexGrid is a solar PV mini-grid system based on the award-winning Swarm Intelligence developed by the Swiss company PowerBlox. FlexGrid proposes a demand-driven approach towards rural electrification. They focus on underserved areas and villages that are typically overlooked by conventional mini-grid developers.

“FlexGrid is a rapid scaleable off-grid solution. Our demand-driven approach uniquely minimises the typical demand-risk. The bottom-up model substantially lowers the up-front investment required to serve defined use cases. This way rural electrification can be done in a profitable way while using tariffs that are aligned with customers willingness and ability to pay.” explains Stefaan Debref, co-founder of FlexGrid. “Our approach combines the AC-power of a mini-grid with the simplicity of a solar home system. A FlexGrid can be installed fast and can be easily expanded by a local workforce when demand grows.”

The technical viability of the FlexGrid approach has been demonstrated in Zantiguila (Mail - inaugurated in May 2018) and in Ndego (Rwanda - installed in April 2019). Meanwhile the company already obtained financial close to equip another 5 villages in Mali in the coming months.

“We receive great support from public investors (ElectriFi, AfDB, the Swiss government, Get.Invest), but we also attract already quite some interest from private investors” says Servaas Van Den Noortgate (co-founder). “Once a stable cash-flow is proven from this portfolio, we are confident to be able to raise sufficient money for rapid scaling.”

“At such moment, also the assembly of the equipment will be moved to Africa, creating hundreds of additional permanent jobs while further lowering our cost. A win-win strategy.”

New smart mini-grids plug & play

GFM presents its new portable “plug & play” system aimed at offering “Smart Grids” services in remote areas where there is no option to access reliable electricity. For this reason, we have designed two containers of 20 feet which integrate all the accurate equipment for the installation, commissioning, technical training and maintenance of this “SmartGRID plug & play” solution.

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The characteristics of this mobile project are:

  1. SmartGRIDINBOX will be operative with 40% of its complete capacity in just 2 hours.
  2. Its capacity will be around 60-100 kVA of steady power.
  3. Total storage is around 100-250 kWh. Some part of complete storage will be distributed (30-50%).
  4. The solution has a PV power of 50-80 kWp which 30-50% of them will be distributed generation.
  5. SmartGRIDINBOX is equipped by Smart Metering service, distributed generation and storage. It has internet on demand.
  6. SmartGRIDINBOX can be preconfigured and ready to be used as a result of a simple solution based on two containers of 20 feet and capacity to supply power to 40 households and SME´s from remote communities.
  7. SmartGRIDINBOX is ready to be used as Smart Metering application and “pay-as-you-go” models (PAYG). For that, investors will be able to obtain strong revenues to finance the operation once this project has finished.
  8. SmartGRIDINBOX is designed to ease social integration of Smart mini-grids and all these services of added value incorporated, enhancing local economic development as well as improving efficient, productivity and sustainability.

The main SmartGRIDINBOX equipments are:

  1. Central Unit Container: this equipment offers the main grid which will be engaged with the rest of generation and distributed storage. Moreover, it will have management and monitoring smart meter systems, as well as auxiliary services such as internet and storage and generation systems.
  2. The main generation system: it will be installed in opposite area of the main container. It will use the second container structure as support for a power system around 20-30kWp.
  3. On-grid inverter: it will be used standard on-grid inverters configurated for microgrids.
  4. SmartMeter: with a power and consumed energy regulation.
  5. Solar Home System (SHS): dedicated to mini-grid extension including storage.
  6. Genset: back-up system could be combined with non-reliable grids.
  7. Wind generator: it could be installed in places where we can take advantage of this source (5-10 kW).


Improving the livelihood of rural dwellers through renewable energy access

The 14 years civil unrest in Liberia destroyed the energy sector leaving less than 3% of its 4.5 million population having access to energy. In this light, Artgeo Foundation, Inc., a non-profit and non-governmental organisation came into the picture to help remedy the situation with a focus on rural electrification using solar off-grad technology. Our target audience include youth recreation centres, homes that include persons with disabilities, the elderly, etc.

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Since the inception of our initiative several months ago, specifically in the remote northern part of the country, out of the nearly 2,000 target communities, 40 communities have benefited including public schools, youth recreation centres, etc. Estimated beneficiaries in 2 years stand at 450,000 inhabitants. We provide solar home system and mini-grid targeting the two-client categories – Youth centres and homes with SHS.

Key challenges

Some of the key challenges experienced include:

  • Lack of finance
  • Training and capacity gaps and
  • Logistical constraints

To tackle these challenges, we welcome energy experts and organisations for consultancy, financing, investment, and partnership to build the energy capacity of our team of engineers in mini-grid, off-grid and solar home systems. We will perform our role to facilitate the arrival and provide a conducive environment leading to investment, training, consultancy and financing of our potential financier or investors.

For further information, kindly reach us via email:

Tel: +231-55-55-07-553 / +231-770-2929-03

Lifi LED Liberia update for funding & financing

Lifi LED Liberia is proud to be awarded the "Best Start Up 2019" at the ARE Awards ceremony at the 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Abidjan last month. Moving forward, we seek to cooperate with all stakeholders in realising the vision of energy poverty eradication and to guarantee the basic human right of access to information in all forms through the Lifi LED solar technology.

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We have an upcoming pilot project in Liberia with the Ministry of Health scheduled for July 2019. At this same time of the year, we planned to bring 1,000 SHS to test the local market.

At the moment, we have funding/financing needs (all forms) of more than USD 5 million required for expansion and further de-risking.

There are partnerships with GoSun, Rural Spark, AMMP Technologies, etc in the region.

Our target market(s) is valued at around USD 120 million and encompasses + 80 million people in 19 countries.

We have applied for grants with Mercy Corps & AECF; while we are also seeking enlistment into Ampion Ventures first cohort.

We want to provide the internet infrastructure in a sustainable way to accelerate societies towards the SDGs and we believe it can happen now, in this generation when together we can arrive to make huge social impact with renewables.


  • Power & Electricity Show Philippines 2019 (Manila, 20-21 May 2019)

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    Over the two-day show there will be eight conference tracks running, featuring over 200 individual presentations. Gain insights on the latest industry trends and disruptions and get updated on the latest investment and development opportunities.


    The show also includes a buzzing exhibition, with over 250 sponsors and exhibitors, across two floors, showcasing the latest technology in the energy industry. There is simply no better place for you to connect with the industry.


    Power & Electricity World Philippines brings together the government, leading utilities, power producers, project developers, investors and solution providers to allow new business opportunities and valuable connections to be made.

    For bookings placed through ARE, there is a 10% discount.

    Contact: Jens Jaeger

    Innovation Arena

    ARE Member Enrupt is hosting an innovation space showcasing start-ups designing and building solutions that are transforming the future of energy. The innovation space is structured as a platform that will offer an opportunity to connect fast-paced entrepreneurs and their innovative solutions with industry players attending the event.

    Apply here before 19 April 2019 to be selected to participate.

    Your participation in the innovation arena is an opportunity for start-ups seeking market exposure and strategic partnerships to showcase their innovations in a specific industry setting in one of the fastest growing power markets in the world

  • Financing East Africa’s Energy Plans (Kigali, 28 May 2019)

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    Fulfilling the economic and social promise of East Africa depends on the effectiveness of stakeholders to work together to develop the continent’s huge energy capacity. Securing the necessary finance needed to fund the required overhaul of the energy network is paramount. (World Bank estimates  USD 43 bn needs spending annually for the next decade).

    Financing models underpinning project development are changing rapidly. Private investors are now playing an increasingly significant role in providing funding for critical power projects (as policymakers seek innovative ways to reduce capital expenditure pressure on already stretched public accounts).

    The choice of Rwanda (Kigali) as the location for this event is particularly appropriate given the country’s successful implementation of an infra-related public/private partnership (Kigali Bulk Water Supply Project), one of the first in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Key areas to be addressed include:

    • Profiling East Africa’s diverse energy mix 
    • The bankability of projects (and mitigating risk) 
    • The energy sector as an enabler for local content 
    • Funding the energy transition (financing low carbon & climate resilient investments)
    • Technology & innovation 
    • Borrowers outline funding requirements 

    Want to get involved? Sponsorship options are also available.

    More information available here.

    Contact: David Lecoque

  • 2nd North Africa Renewable Energy Summit (Casablanca, 24-25 Jun 2019)

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    As the suitable location for Solar PV and CSP growing and the high potential for wind energy, the North Africa region is accelerating the development of renewable energy, in order to meet the increasing energy demand while fighting climate change. With GOV’s great support and so many ongoing & upcoming renewables projects, this is best time for you enter this market.

    Taking place in Casablanca, Morccco on 24-25 June 2019, the 2nd North Africa Renewable Energy Summit will pave a knowledge-sharing platform for you to network with developers, EPCs, financers, suppliers, etc. Focusing on Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt, we are not only going to analyse the updates and forecasts of North Africa’s renewables development during this 2-day summit, but also arrange an extra post-conference site tour which will be hosted by Masen (Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy).

    ARE offers a 10% discount on exhibition booth bookings and participation fees.

    Contact: David Lecoque

  • Call for Speakers: 10th Microgrid Global Innovation Forum (London, 9-11 Sep 2019)

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    The 10th edition of the Microgrid Global Innovation Forum, 9-11 September, 2019 in London, focuses on microgrid advances, case studies and applications in EMEA, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.

    Organised by the Smart Grid Observer, the emphasis is on maximising the effective use of renewable and distributed energy resources, refining the positive business model for a range of microgrid deployments, and sharing real-world case studies in both grid-tied and off-grid/remote environments. Call for speakers is currently open, and proposals are due by 17 May 2019. 

    ARE is an official Association Partner for the Forum.

  • AidEx Nairobi Conference (Nairobi, 11-12 Sep 2019)

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    The AidEx Nairobi Conference was launched in 2014 as a satellite event focused on aid and development within Africa. It is a two-day high-profile conference attracting over 500 A&D professionals from East Africa and beyond.

    The 2018 conference theme was: Revolution in the digital age: safeguarding a future for all. How can technology contribute to a positive social impact?

    The 2019 theme will be announced soon.

    By attending the AidEx Nairobi conference you will be able to:

    • Engage in our interactive conference programme
    • Learn from the challenges and success stories from your peers
    • Network with over 500 aid and development professionals from the government, UN, Red Cross and local and International NGO's 
    • Hear from thought leaders and policy-makers 

    ARE is happy to announce that it has established a partnership with AidEx Events to increase participation. ARE Members also benefit from special discount rates.

    Interested in booking an exhibition booth with a 10% discount or attend with a 15% discount on the participation fee?

    Contact: David Lecoque

  • OFF-GRID Experts Workshop (Augsburg, 19-21 Sep 2019)

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    The OFF-GRID Experts Workshop is a unique, international expert event for off-grid enthusiasts of self-sufficient power supply who are looking for contacts and who are hungry for knowledge. The focus is on the practical exchange of experience and know-how, which is ensured by a varied, interactive and entertaining programme:

    • Workshop Sessions: Presentations on Small Wind, Photovoltaics, Storage and many more
    • Off-Grid Action: Hands-On Off-Grid Assembling Station, Trade Counter and Speed Dating
    • Table Talks: Speakers‘ Corner and Running Discussion
    • Accompanying exhibition: Presentation of innovative products
    • Side Events: Exciting evening programme
    • Tech-Day: Product training by leading companies

    ARE is proud to be the official network partner of the workshop.

  • AidEx Brussels Conference: Solar Pavilion (Brussels, 13-14 Nov 2019)

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    Meet buyers of solar products from the aid and development sector

    Working with ARE, this year’s AidEx will include a Pavilion for buyers of Solar and Off-Grid Energy Equipment to meet suppliers.

    Now in its 9th year, AidEx is established as the leading platform for the international aid and development community to come together and improve the efficiency of aid.

    AidEx is a two-day event, which encompasses a conference, exhibition, meeting areas, awards and workshops. Its fundamental aim is to engage the sector at every level and provide a forum for aid & development professionals to meet, source, supply and learn. AidEx was created to help the international aid and development community engage the private sector in a neutral setting, drive innovation and support the ever-growing need for emergency aid and development programmes.

    Solar products are at the heart of the exhibition and we hope you will consider having an exhibition stand in this Solar Pavilion. For bookings placed through ARE, there is also a 10% discount.

    Contact: David Lecoque

  • ARE’s new 3-service lines concept (Abidjan, 12 Mar 2019)

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    ARE held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) a day ahead of the 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum.

    This was an opportunity for ARE Members to sit down together with the Board and Secretariat to discuss ARE's future strategy and direction. The AGM helped determine what the Secretariat should be spending more time on in order to provide for best services for its Members.

    Vivian Vendeirinho (RVE.SOL) retains his position as ARE President until 2023. He, together with Aaron Leopold (AMDA) and Rebecca Symington (Mlinda) were re-elected to the Board. ARE also held its Board elections, where two new Members of the Board were elected: Irene Calve Saborit (Sunkofa Energy) and Claudio Pedretti (Windkinetic).

    Building on its unique position as the leading global voice for the clean energy off-grid sector, this year ARE has established its 3-service lines concept to allow for effective collaborations between private and public sector in order to resolve the challenges as most critical to make clean energy access a reality in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin-America-Caribbean by 2030.

  • 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum moves to Africa (Abidjan, 13-14 March 2019)

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    The Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the GET.invest programme (formerly RECP), is excited to announce that the 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum was held the first time in Africa and attracted more than 260 participants (330 registrants and with more than half coming from Africa) to Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 13-14 March 2019. Thanks to all supporter and participants who helped us to make it happen this year!

    The Forum, supported by SEforALL, Club-ER, ECREEE and UNIDO, convened public, private and other stakeholders with the goal to boost clean energy access globally and in particular in Africa, where 588 million people still lack electricity. To intensify the exchange with players from and outside Africa, ARE also held its Annual General Meeting in conjunction with the Forum the day before and foresaw French translation.

    Building on the success of previous editions, and in addition to showcasing the upcoming political and de-risking initiatives, the Forum served to discuss latest trends and innovations as well as contributed to socio-economic growth with meetings being held between local, regional and international market players.

    With the overall goal to build win-win partnerships, the Forum also featured side-events from the Agence Togolaise d’Electrification Rurale et des Energies Renouvelables, ElectriFI, GET.invest, Swedfund and UNIDO.

    The B2B Matchmaking supported by the GET.invest programme gave participants the opportunity to meet potential business partners and advance projects during face-to-face B2B meetings. 125 participants took part in more than 265 B2B meetings where participants had the chance to meet with potential business partners.

    The results from the evaluation showed that the B2B Matchmaking event was successful. It exceeded the expectations of most participants. 91% of the participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the assistance before and during the B2B event as well as with the B2B online platform. Only 2% of the respondents were very dissatisfied with the B2B online platform and dissatisfied with the assistance during the B2B matchmaking event. 93% indicated that the quality of the other participant’s profiles was satisfying or very satisfying.

    Finally, while preparing already for the 6th edition of the EAIF, we would like to find out the best place to meet next year! In case you wish to contribute, or support ARE with the organisation, please contact Marcus Wiemann.

  • ARE Awards 2019 (Abidjan, 13 Mar 2019)

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    The 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum also gave recognition to companies and organisations, which have made special contributions to advance the rural electrification sector.

    In its 4th year running, the ARE Awards 2019 were discerned to:

    • Category 1 (Multilateral / International Organisations): UNCDF Clean Start (Thailand) 
    • Category 2 (NGOs and Foundations): Guakia Ambiente (Dominican Republic) 
    • Category 3 (Private Sector in Developed Countries): TESVOLT Australia / TESVOLT Germany 
    • Category 4  (Private Sector in Developing Countries): Artgeo Foundation, Inc. (Liberia)
    • Category 5 (Government in Developing Country): Hemeva. S.A.S. & Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia – MREC (Colombia) 
    • Category 6 (Best Off-grid Project): Mytilineos S.A. (Greece) 
    • Category 7 (Best Start-Up; new category): LIFI-LED Liberia Inc. 

    Download the presentation

  • ARE & ECREEE’s new partnership to help upscale decentralised renewable energy in the ECOWAS region

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    In light of the urgency to address the barriers hindering the roll-out of renewable energy, ARE and ECREEE have pledged to support SMEs and start-ups to upscale decentralised renewable energy and cross-sectoral collaborations in the ECOWAS region. They will do so by promoting sustainable energy policies, fit-for-purpose financing, innovative technologies and business solutions globally. The MoU was signed by Mahama Kappiah, ECREEE Executive Director and Marcus Wiemann, ARE Executive Director, on the occasion of the 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Abidjan on 13 March 2019.

    Both parties agree that there is an emerging awareness on the technical and economic feasibility of exploiting the region’s huge renewable energy potential. As a consequence, ECREEE and ARE also acknowledge that these obstacles can be addressed if countries act in a more coordinated manner and that better harmonising and aggregating the demand for inter alia sustainable energy finance, technologies, innovation, capacity building across countries will provide a strong lever to lower costs, to improve quality and to bring reliable and cost-effective sustainable energy within the reach of all.

    Marcus Wiemann, ARE Executive Director“ARE is highly committed to contribute to the empowerment of the private sector who will be key to effectively deliver energy access in the ECOWAS region. The MoU is an important positive signal to those who wish to take action and will hopefully also be a convincing proof of how strong partnerships can help deliver on SDG7 goals.”

    Mahama Kappiah, ECREEE Executive Director: “ECREEE will continue to establish robust partnerships that promote key financial, business and policy solutions to overcoming the major barriers to rural electrification efforts in West Africa."

    He expressed optimism that the MoU with ARE will not only go a long way in increasing access to electricity, but also ensure leapfrogging centralised electricity grids traditionally powered by fossil fuels to the use of renewable energy technologies and eventually putting these new energy consumers on a low carbon growth trajectory.

  • [Invite] Intersolar Europe: Off-Grid Power Forum (Munich, 15-17 May 2019)

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    As the exclusive off-grid partner at Intersolar, ARE is partnering with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the German Solar Association (BSW) to organise the Off-Grid Power Forum: Conference & Exhibition

    The Forum is an opportunity for companies and project developers to attract and to raise interest from high-ranking delegations, project partners, policy makers, investors and international press members and learn about the latest off-grid trends on future markets, technological solutions and smart applications.

    Here is a summary of the off-grid activities planned:

    Get your ticket:

    Participation at the Off-grid Power Conference & Exhibition is free-of-costs, however, you need to be in possession of an Intersolar Exhibition ticket.


  • [Invite] EUSEW: Decentralised energy systems: models for a modern EU economy (Brussels, 18 Jun 2019)

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    Decentralised energy solutions have been acknowledged by the Clean Energy Package as a key driver to deliver Europe’s energy transition. Directly developed and owned by consumers, SMEs and local authorities, they provide integrated business models reflecting the specificity and needs of each end-use sector: residential, industrial or agricultural. Small-scale clean energy solutions are developed in symbiosis with the local economy, providing jobs and contributing to the dynamism of European territories.

    In light of these benefits, the mass deployment of clean and locally owned energy solutions should be at the core of Europe’s 2050 decarbonisation strategy, but how to achieve this? This EUSEW session provided to you by SolarPower Europe, SmartEn, ARE, EASE and I-Distributed PV, aims at showcasing innovative business models and prosumers experiences from the ground, and reflect on the best pathways to drive the  energy transition of key sectors of the economy while creating additional growth and value for European society.

  • ARE: Annual Report 2018

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    During its General Assembly in Catania on 12 March 2018, the Membership of ARE adopted the revised ARE Strategy prepared and presented by the ARE Board to better meet and tackle the present needs of the clean off-grid sector. ARE was created over 10 years ago with the objective to help build a sector and has performed admirably in building up support and legitimacy in distributed renewables energies. Now that this legitimacy and an initial upswing in funding has been realised, the sector is evolving from a “why” to a “how” phase.

    To support ARE Members more effectively in their way to make clean energy access happen in Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin-America/Caribbean, the Secretariat has been very active during last year. While the Annual Report itself will give more comprehensive insights into the activities per newly-established workstream and per department, the report highlights a few achievements of major importance:

    Building on our aim to build a sustainable decentralised renewable energy industry for the 21st century, to activate markets for affordable energy services, and to create local jobs and inclusive economies ARE (co)organised 18 events - leading from fora and conferences to workshops and trainings - in 15 different countries worldwide with more than 3,000 participants in total. For two-third of the events, experts came together directly in the mentioned target regions where energy access remains a crucial challenge which can be addressed through B2B and B2F support. While both, the quality and quantity of events, as well as their regional spread, could be increased by the ARE team, the association had to face a decline in Membership for the first time in the last six years. Reason being that companies working hard for SEforALL and SDG targets would like to see better and more tailored support. Non-profits like ARE, which only receive a third of their funding from Membership fees to keep the threshold as low as possible, would strongly benefit from funding support for core activities (instead of only project-linked funding) to improve their skills and services, and thus better serve the market.

  • ARE: Outcome Report & Recommendations: 5th Energy Access Investment Forum

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    In partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and GET.invest (formerly RECP) and thanks to the sponsors, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) organised its 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum(EAIF), held this year for the first time in Africa in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on 13-14 March 2019.

    The EAIF, supported by SEforALL and UNIDO as global Partners and by AIENR, AMDA, Club-ER and ECREEE as main regional Partners in Africa, attracted more than 260 participants from over 40 countries worldwide. More than 50% of participants came from Africa. Participants included the public and private sector, development organisations and NGOs, as well as project developers and financiers. Given their key role for positive future developments, it should be noted that the target audience was well represented to support the main objective, which is to boost clean energy access investments with a specific focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, where 588 million people still lack electricity.

    To intensify the exchange with local players, ARE also held its Annual General Meeting in conjunction with the EAIF the day before. Also, English - French translations were provided during the conference.

    Building on the success of the previous four editions, the EAIF offered again the opportunity to learn about upcoming political and de-risking initiatives, to discuss latest sector trends and innovations and to enter into concrete business partnerships. In total, 265 B2B matchmaking meetings were held between local, regional and international market players in addition to networking opportunities.

  • Hivos: Bridging the gap: how inclusive finance boosts access to off-grid energy

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    Off-grid solutions can be designed to provide affordable electricity to poor communities in hard-to-reach areas but receive only a fraction of annual global investment in energy provision. Governments hoping to harness these technologies to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 — universal access to energy by 2030 — must therefore find new ways to attract more finance. Drawing on research in Nepal and Bangladesh, this briefing shows how policymakers, financiers, civil society and the private sector can leverage ‘inclusive’ financing models to unlock the private investment needed to provide off-grid systems to marginalised communities and bridge the energy access gap.

  • Wood Mackenzie: Strategic investments in off-grid energy access

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    Off-grid energy access is maturing as a sector. According to a new report from Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and energy access non-profit Energy 4 Impact, nearly USD 1.7 billion in cumulative disclosed investment has been deployed into energy access markets through the end of 2018, and investment in pay-as-you-go home solar companies and other players is accelerating.

    The research finds that total annual investment in the off-grid energy access sector surpassed USD 500 million in 2018. Strategic investors from the utility and energy space and beyond have formed over 30 partnerships and joint ventures with off-grid energy access companies. The report also finds that potential service offerings for new energy customers go beyond a basic electricity connection.

Please note that views expressed in the Co-Editorial, the In Focus section and the Special Feature of the newsletter, are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect ARE’s opinion.

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