Powering Rural Economies through Productive Use of Renewable Energy

David Lecoque, CEO, ARE

The New Frontier of Energy Access – PURE

Jeffrey Prins, Head of Portfolio, IKEA Foundation

IKEA Foundation is keen to contribute to the development, finance, uptake and policy support of Productive Use Renewable Energy technologies: PURE. (Yes, we have an acronym for it.) 

Read more

Our focus is driven by our dual mission at the IKEA Foundation, namely, to ensure that families can afford a better life while protecting the planet. Ultimately, we believe that these two big issues that face our society today – poverty and climate change – might, in part, be tackled by energy access that is renewable, reliable and affordable. Afterall, energy is cornerstone to society’s development. We think that the energy access sector, serving the nearly 1 billion people without energy access, can do more than “just lighting.” And so, needs to look more at PURE. Can we look at how energy might be a catalyst for development, for jobs and livelihoods.

Our journey into the sector is new and we have a lot to learn. Officially we started mid-2018. And reflecting our values, we don’t automatically start with a technology.  We always start with the people we try to serve. And that starts with looking at their energy needs – can the work they are already doing be done renewably and efficiently? (Usually, people are solving their energy needs on their own, but can we partner together to ensure that we take advantage of efficient, renewable energy technologies.) Of course, we look at affordability too. Can people afford an energy asset, or can affordable finance play a role? And/or can they find new market linkages? For example, if a small families business making bread can improve their business through an efficient and renewably powered bread roller, a suitable loan and, as a result, they have ways to better access markets – exactly that is the journey we are keen to undertake.  

We’ll make mistakes along the way, of course, but as long as energy access starts with some principles and processes – people and planet centred – we think we might be on the right track. Can we serve those underserved in rural areas and do it in a way that the enabling environment works for them? Though independent, our value set mirrors IKEA. Not surprisingly, hopefully, we both have the same founder (Ingvar Kamrad) and inspiration - to improve lives of and with the many people.

It seems that PURE is the new frontier of energy access and as a Foundation we are excited about the prospects for jobs, livelihoods and climate. We are excited too about being in touch with all those ARE members that are making a difference. Much has been done and there is so much more to do, and we can only do it together in collaboration, which makes it all the more challenging and exhilarating.

 

Market Assessment & Toolkit to Advance Bioenergy Development in Africa

The challenge: Sub-Saharan Africa has a huge variety of bioenergy feedstocks with an enormous potential to meet Africa’s burgeoning demand for modern energy services. The right bioenergy investments could improve agricultural productivity, localise energy supply, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce deforestation, generate supply chain economic activities, deliver social benefits, and empower low-income communities in Africa.

Read more

However, commercial bioenergy development in Africa has been extremely constrained with a low success rate and a comprehensive understanding of the requirements and opportunities for catalysing bioenergy development is still largely missing.

In response to these challenges, NIRAS-LTS, Aston University, Aiguasol and E4tech came together to develop a series of technical reports, policy briefs, techno-economic toolkits and databases to assist investors, developers and policymakers to advance bioenergy development in Africa. This project is supported by UK aid via the Transforming Energy Access Programme.

Overview

The research focused on opportunities for anaerobic digestion (AD) and combustion for electricity and/or heat generation in the range of 10 kW to 5 MW. The project began with the identification, analysis and screening of a range of bioenergy ‘pathways’, to identify the most promising opportunities for further investigation. Seven priority demand sectors in five countries were shortlisted.

These sectors were investigated in more detail to explore the experiences of both adopters and non-adopters of bioenergy technologies in order to lead to an improved understanding of the commercial, economic and institutional requirements and opportunities for scaling up generation and application of bioenergy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The team developed a range of research reports, tools, databases and policy briefs to guide developers, investors and policymakers to advance bioenergy development in the region. These include:

 

PURE: Tapping the Potential

PURE has an important role to play in increasing economic and social prosperity in underserved communities across the developing world. Through income-generating activities - ranging from milling and grinding to running hair salons and internet shops - PURE enables the diversification of livelihoods away from climate-vulnerable activities while also opening up opportunities for more climate-resilient agriculture.

Read more

The uptake of PURE powered by renewable energy is also important for increasing power consumption, thereby strengthening the sustainability of off-grid rural electrification projects. As a result, electrification and economic development reinforce one another and maximise the overall benefits.

Yet despite all of its promise, efforts to increase PURE activities are often hindered by a lack of technical knowledge and skills among potential users, insufficient infrastructure and the absence of financial means to acquire the relevant equipment. As a result, mini-grid and isolated grid developers and solar home system distributors are increasingly looking at new business models, specific services, training and partnerships to address these challenges.

As REPP’s investment manager, Camco Clean Energy is playing a pivotal role in financing early-stage off-grid companies working to develop innovative and clean PURE applications for their customers. To date, REPP has invested more than GBP 15m in nine such companies in East and West Africa, which together are providing electricity to nearly 7,000 micro and small businesses as well as powering 410 critical services, including schools, health clinics and water pumping stations.

REPP investee ARC Power, for example, is operating a solar business park in Bugesera District, Rwanda, which works on a 'plug-and-play' business model that allows local entrepreneurs to pay for the power and space they use at an agreed rate. The company also hires out machinery, enabling customers to build their businesses without being faced with prohibitively expensive set-up costs.

Rift Valley Energy’s isolated distribution network currently has 5,500 customer connections, including two tea factories, a dairy farm, two sawmills, over 40 schools and 34 village offices. It also provides clean energy to dozens of small business workshops using more than 400 PURE appliances, and eight water pumps supplying clean water to 3,000 households.

Despite many success stories, however, PURE’s full potential is far from being realised. Much more attention must now be given to strengthening partnerships between developers, financiers, development partners and governments (national and sub-national) and drawing on their collective expertise and experiences to create an effective ecosystem for PURE to thrive.

If you have a renewable energy project with a strong PURE focus in need of funding, please get in touch.

 

Hurri Hills, a Success Story of Entrepreneurship Despite the Pandemic

Enhancing access to clean and reliable electricity means that local businesses in developing areas, both existing and upcoming, can reap the benefits of extended operating hours, mechanisation, product preservation, higher productivity, improved working conditions, as well as communication in a socially and environmentally sustainable way.

Read more

Since October 2019, a 20-kW solar PV mini-grid was commissioned in the locality of Hurri Hills, in Marsabit County, Kenya. This international project was implemented by Kenyan Company: SESMA, the operator, and international companies TTA, Offgrid.ch and Studer. The project was financed by GIZ and REPIC. This infrastructure is fully operational for more than a year and is serving electricity to 44 customers with expansion plans for 2021.

A great example to show how these projects promote entrepreneurship is Godana Guyo. He had a small shop in Hurri Hills when the mini-grid was installed, but his monthly income was not enough to pay for the electricity. So, motivated and driven by the advantages he could have by connecting to the mini-grid, he decided to extend the shop to have a barbershop in the neighbouring building. With the additional income, Godana is able to pay for electricity in the barbershop, in the shop and at home.

The same happened to Kame Konchoro, the owner of Tumaini Lodge in Hurri Hills. The lodge has eight rooms, normally hosting travellers and visitors from local NGOs or government agencies.  It also has a conference room that is used for training and capacity building activities. Before the mini-grid, visitors and trainers struggled to charge their laptops and electronic devices. They had to run from one place to another until they could get the required electricity. Since the arrival of the mini-grid, Kame has arranged lights and sockets in every room, and a TV and fridge in the common area. Visitors now enjoy electricity and her delicious food at her lodge.

Since the commissioning of the mini-grid two years ago, electricity demand has grown every month. It is expected that more commercial activities will appear, following the successful examples of Godana or Kame, to boost economic and social development in Hurri Hills.

 

All-Night Battery Turns PV & Wind into Round-the-Clock Resources

Until now, renewable sources of power such as PV and wind have been incomplete solutions for rural electrification due to their intermittency, unpredictability, and variable output. Off-grid, when PV and wind are not available, diesel gensets usually are used as a backup, often in combination with expensive, short-duration batteries. Typically, such combinations of power generation technologies are costly to buy and operate, and the diesel fuel burned by most gensets is dirty and expensive.

Read more

Imagine a simple affordable solution to the problem of intermittent PV and wind that eliminates gensets and most of the fuel they burn. Today, new long-duration thermal battery technology from America’s 247Solar offers the promise of 24/7, fully-dispatchable electricity from PV or wind, while completely eliminating the need for gensets. 

 

How it works

As a “thermal” battery, 247Solar’s solution, dubbed HeatStorE™, stores energy as heat instead of electricity. Heat can be stored in a variety of materials like sand, rocks or ceramic pellets, that are inexpensive, environmentally benign, and long-lived.

HeatStorE™ looks unlike any other battery, but the system is deceptively simple. Electricity from PV or wind heats the air up 1,000℃ (1,850℉) using electric resistance coils. This hot air is blown through an insulated container containing a heat storage material, which absorbs the heat and retains it for up to 20 hours. When needed, more air is blown through the storage container, heated, and then used to drive a special turbine to produce electricity without any combustion.

In the inevitable case where both solar and wind power are unavailable and the thermal storage is depleted, HeatStorE’s turbine can also burn natural gas, diesel or virtually any other liquid or gaseous fuel, thus completely eliminating the need for backup gensets. Further, by burning clean fuels such as biofuels or green hydrogen, HeatStorE provides a realistic pathway to 100% renewable power wherever such fuels are available.

Each HeatStorE battery is a module of 200 kW/1,800 kWh capacity. Multiple units can be combined in any quantity to create storage banks of any required size. Unlike electrochemical batteries, HeatStorE promises a service life of 20 years or more with little or no performance degradation, and because it produces AC instead of DC, no inverter is required.

As an added benefit for applications that require both heat and power (CHP), each 200 kW HeatStorE can provide up to one million BTU/hr. of 250℃ heat, for purposes like creating steam or to supply other industrial or commercial processes.
 

The big picture

As a scalable long-duration storage solution that avoids the many drawbacks of electrochemical batteries, the potential for HeatStorE is enormous. When added to PV or wind, it can provide the operational flexibility and resilience to make high-penetration renewable energy solutions a reality for mines, community microgrids, off-grid communities, or islands around the world.

 

Zimpertec is Driving PURE with Larger-Size Plug & Play PayGo SHS Systems

Zimpertec has expanded its Solar Home Systems portfolio in the past years to answer the need of people without electricity access. As PURE is currently proving to have a better socio-economic impact and better returns on investment, the demand for Plug & Play systems to power productive applications is rising. Zimpertec supports this holistically, starting with the DC SHS 25/50, which can power easily manifold productive use cases.

Read more

The LS AC Solar Home Systems product family can power additional AC-driven use cases. The solutions tackle the typical challenges when it comes to PURE:

  • Full battery autonomy even in case of low solar conditions.
  • Innovative business models to spread the systems.
  • Resiliency of the system to outages.

For this purpose, Zimpertec cooperates closely on the R&D level with appliance experts to bring reliable solutions to the off-grid sector.

For example, WATA used the Zimpertec SHS system in combination with their solution to create disinfection materials and clean water in the UNICEF project to equip 80 health care facilities of the Sahelian band in Chad, giving hospital staff autonomy in their disinfectants production so that they no longer have to rely on uncertain logistics to these remote places (6 to 10-hour drive from N'Djamena). They can also treat the water at the water point of the health care facility, where the surrounding community gathers to fetch water.

In Eastern Africa, Zimpertec and a high-quality off-grid refrigeration manufacturer collaborated to bring turnkey cooling ready systems to Africa. The first project started back in 2019. Cooling is a critical component in productive use to enable the owner to create or improve their business. PayGo enabled for further optimisation of cash collection. Typical use cases include kiosk/boutique, dairy farmers with more than six cows and domestic use.

For more information, visit the Zimpertec website www.zimpertec.com

 

https://www.ruralelec.org/business-opportunities/practical-action

From Experience to Action: the Approach for PURE in Agriculture

Most people in developing countries still live in rural areas and depend on rain-fed and labour-intensive agriculture for their livelihoods. Although agriculture is associated with extreme poverty, it remains vital for economic growth and future development, since it is likely to be more effective than other sectors in raising the income of the poorest and creating opportunities for youth. In turn, enhancing renewable energy technologies to improve smallholder agriculture in developing countries is key in the international development agenda.

Read more

Practical Action is a multi-disciplinary group with decades of programme and research experience in the energy-agriculture nexus. Over time, the group has developed innovative models for productive use of energy in agriculture to overcome supply- and demand-side constraints to energy access and uptake.  Our planning consists of a participatory process that starts from the needs of rural communities and adopts a system thinking approach – characterised by the integration of an understanding of agriculture, energy, social and market issues rather than a single sector focus. These methods allow the identification of agriculture value chain and energy application combinations with the greatest potential, intervention points to address barriers to market system development, and strategic partnerships with market actors in both the agriculture and energy domains.

This is the case, for instance, of Practical Action’s “Rural Energy for Agriculture (RE4A)” project in Malawi supported by the PREO programme (co-funded by the IKEA Foundation and UK Aid via the Transforming Energy Access platform). The intervention builds on the capabilities of both Practical Action and two partners: Modern Farming Technology (MFT), a local social enterprise and Africa Mini-Grids (AMG), an energy developer. RE4A aims to develop a commercially viable solar irrigation and refrigeration business model that improves food production, reduces post-harvest losses - enabling farmers to reach more lucrative markets - and addresses gender constraints by targeting a women farmers cooperative.  The business model intends to use surplus revenue to expand the use of solar pumps and refrigeration further – allowing scale-up and potentially offering an attractive proposition for investors.

Practical Action is committed to bringing a participatory market system development approach forward and strengthening key partnerships with the private sector to develop transformative solutions that benefit the lives of poor people across the world as well as the wider system and environment.

 

https://selfchill.org/

Kenyan Farmers Improve Productivity with SelfChill Solar Cooling Solutions

The first SelfChill solar cooling solutions for Kenyan farmers was developed to cool herbs, milk and fish in September and October 2021. The German solar technology provider Phaesun GmbH in cooperation with Solar Cooling Engineering UG and local partners SunTransfer Kenya and Strathmore University Nairobi have successfully implemented SelfChill solar cooling solutions in Kenya within the project “PV Cool Kenya”.

Read more

The SelfChill concept focuses on the use of key components for scalable solar cooling solutions for agricultural products. The core component is an ice reservoir formed out of several SelfChill Cooling Units that compensates for fluctuations in solar energy or cooling capacity. Cooling systems can be created in different sizes for different applications and temperature ranges (icemakers, milk tanks, cold rooms etc.). The concept also allows delivery in individual components, as well as use of local material, such that transport volume and costs are kept low and final assembly, can be carried out on site.

In July 2020 Phaesun, Solar Cooling Engineering and Strathmore University started the project “PV Cool Kenya” supported through the developpp-programme of DEG to implement the SelfChill concept in Kenya. Studies show that various agricultural value chains suffer from low product quality and high post-harvest losses due to missing cooling options in rural areas.

Thus, the project “PV Cool Kenya” is implementing innovative solar cooling solutions for stakeholders of different value chains.

One important aspect of the project is the knowledge transfer on cooling technologies and capacity building in regard to system sizing, assembly, installation and maintenance of solar cooling systems. The first technical training with 38 participants took place in September 2021 at Strathmore Energy Research Centre. Thomas Bundi, Quality Engineer at Strathmore University, reports: “During the training, we constructed two solar cooling systems together with the trainees. The enthusiasm was amazing, so much that participants stayed until the late evening to see the system performance after sunset.”

Another component of the project is the implementation of a cold room at a herbal farm, milk cooling systems for cooperatives and an ice maker for a fishing community. The end-users expect higher income due to improved product quality and productivity. The performance of the systems will be observed via a remote monitoring and control system.

An online webinar about the SelfChill concept and experiences gained in Kenya will be held on 10th November 09:00-10:30 CET.

More information: www.selfchill.org and www.phaesun.com

 

https://www.ruralelec.org/business-opportunities/pineberry

Call for Mini-grids: Free pilot of “Productive Use as a Service” Platform

It’s clear mini-grids play a key role in electrifying communities across the globe. Still, once a mini-grid goes into operation, a major obstacle to profitability is – ironically – low energy consumption. It’s difficult to cover OPEX and achieve a reasonable ROI, limiting economic viability. And this is where productive use comes in…

Read more

The challenge of affordability

Productive use technologies increase both electricity demand and income of rural customers, mostly through agricultural activities. Solar irrigation increases produce, cooling decreases post-harvest losses and farm processing adds value. Powering productive use with energy from mini-grids is an obvious win-win case. But: Agricultural equipment is expensive to obtain for smallholders. And this is where PineBerry comes in…

The digital solution

“Productive Use as a Service” is PineBerry’s digital innovation that helps mini-grids expand their business and scale their impact. It’s the first customisable and interoperable platform for managing mini-grids, products, customers and payments - all in one central place.

It solves the challenges by increasing…

  • viability of mini-grids: Connect products like water pumps, cold rooms and milling machines to your mini-grid, enable new business models and power local income. All in one platform.
  • affordability of productive use: Turn products into services and let customers pay per use. Offer “Water as a Service” by selling litres of water, “Cooling as a Service” for renting out cooling or “Milling as a Service” for grinding grains.

Traction in the field

As of October 2021, PineBerry was applied in 10 markets across sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Starting with “Energy as a Service” for mini-grids and “Distribution as a Service” for distributors, we kicked off the water, cooling, ice-making, milk cooling, seeds and e-mobility projects. Any product can be connected and managed on our platform.

PineBerry is fed with a growing number of integrations and manufacturing partners, on our way to offering “Everything as a Service” for energy access players.

Partner with us on a free pilot!

Customer-centricity matters. We work with partners in co-creation approaches to get feedback from the field and further develop features.

  • We are looking for: Partners for pilot projects in the water, cooling & agri space
  • What you get: Free testing and unlimited software usage during pilot

Expand your business and impact – join us for a free pilot!

hello@pineberry.services

 

https://www.ruralelec.org/business-opportunities/ecophi

Remote Monitoring & Control Solutions for PURE

Some technical plants are left abandoned after construction with no one tracking how they work. Through effective monitoring and control solutions, however, these plants can not only be technically monitored but the projects themselves can be improved with a gain in knowledge.

Read more

No matter if it is a simple solar plant for power supply, solar cold storage or irrigation system, a remote monitoring system tailored to the application can significantly improve the operation of these systems.

Remote troubleshooting of problems, immediate alerting of stakeholders, and thereby selective maintenance and repairs can reduce operational time and costs. Intelligent on-site controls can make the systems highly efficient.

Beyond the technical improvements, monitoring also adds significant value across individual projects. Through deep insights into the systems, essential knowledge can be gained regarding the technical functionality but also, and above all, the usage. This knowledge can then be passed on to future projects or shared across organisations, for example in the case of pilot plants. Towards users, investors and society it shows transparency and the impact of the projects can be communicated clearly.
 

How does EcoPhi integrate PURE?

The applications in the field of renewable energies in rural areas are very diverse. Therefore, our goal is to provide simple and robust solutions that can cover a wide range of applications in a simple but individual way.

Existing solutions focus mainly on one part: the power used by the application. With our monitoring solutions, we can monitor both the power input and the application itself and thus offer holistic monitoring.

We have developed four different boxes to handle the different applications and system sizes. This allows us to monitor small and simple applications as well as large and complex systems. They are specially designed for use in rural areas, which means they are robust and easy to install. All common inverters and controllers can be connected easily. Additional parameters can be tracked with matching sensors specifically for solar, water and agriculture.

The stakeholders will have all important information about the systems available online at any time and can then make evaluations on individual projects or a large number of systems.

Example - Solar Cooling

With remote monitoring and control, cooling solutions can be operated more efficiently. We not only monitor the energy source but also the cold store itself. By measuring the temperature and humidity, the cooling units can be controlled and proof of staying within critical limits can be provided. Door sensors can be used to analyse and optimise usage behaviour and alert when necessary - for example, when doors are left open too long and too often. User access can be handled via RFID readers with access chips connected to the monitoring system.

Example - Smart Irrigation

Remote monitoring systems can make irrigation systems more efficient. EcoPhi is currently developing a solution together with the University of Applied Sciences Karlsruhe to monitor and intelligently control solar irrigation systems in rural areas. This allows crop-specific irrigation and saves water.

 

  • ARE & ITPO Germany: Energy & Agriculture Campaign

    Read more

    Agriculture is the source of livelihood for 86% of people living in rural areas globally.

    Zero hunger can be achieved by providing energy solutions to produce, transform, consume food in a clean and sustainable way, thereby enhancing their food security and nutrition. Agriculture brings key benefits, contributes to national revenue, food and fodder supply, source of raw materials, international trade, attract foreign direct investments.

    In a joint study developed by ARE and ITPO Germany, innovative DRE technologies have proven potential to improve agricultural productivity, adoption of sustainable and modern agricultural practices and decarbonisation of the agricultural sector.

  • GET.invest Launches Burundi Country Window with Support of ARE & BUREA

    Read more

    It’s official: the European programme GET.invest - supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria - has launched its second country window to support renewable energy projects and businesses in Burundi access finance. With earmarked funding by the Delegation of the European Union to Burundi, GET.invest Burundi will support the Government of Burundi’s efforts to implement the goal of universal access to modern, clean and affordable energy services by 2027.

    Alongside a new country window of the EU-funded impact investment facility EDFI ElectriFI, GET.invest Burundi was launched on 6 October by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines of Burundi and the Ambassador of the European Union to Burundi. The ceremony, which was held in a hybrid format due to Covid-19 restrictions, was attended by over 100 key stakeholders of Burundi’s renewable energy sector.

    Mirroring the services of the global GET.invest programme to unlock financing for sustainable energy projects and businesses, and tailoring them to the national context, GET.invest Burundi will support entrepreneurs across market segments - including on- and off-grid electricity, clean cooking and productive use - with advisory on investment strategy, business case structuring and accessing finance. Beyond EDFI ElectriFI - providing the finance to de-risk investments for private financiers - ARE and the Burundi Renewable Energy Association (BUREA) will be key partners in mobilising the private sector and strengthening the renewable energy market in the country.

  • ARE Endorses IRENA’s Coalition for Action’s Joint Statement on Advancing Renewables in Agriculture

    Read more

    ARE is pleased to endorse the IRENA's Coalition for Action’s joint statement on Advancing Renewables in Agriculture to Meet SDGs and Climate Objectives. Innovative DRE technologies enable improvement in agricultural productivity, adoption of sustainable and modern agricultural practices and decarbonisation of the agricultural sector.

  • OECS Solar Dialogue Highlights the Importance of DRE to Reach Climate Goals in the Eastern Caribbean (2 Sep 2021)

    Read more

    The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge, and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) organised the dialogue on Advancing Policy & Mobilising Investment: The Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge which took place virtually on 2 September 2021. The event was supported by the Caribbean NDC Finance Initiative (NDCFI), the GIZ, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and GET.invest, a European programme that mobilises investments in decentralised renewable energy (DRE), supported by the European Union, Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Austria.

    The event attracted over 400 registrations from the private and public sector including technology providers, project developers, philanthropies, investors, international funding partners and policymakers. Industry experts brought deep insights on the role of DRE in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Eastern Caribbean, as well as on the enabling environment for DRE solutions to thrive in the region.

    The dialogue demonstrated that DRE technologies were fundamental in harnessing the vast renewable energy potential, delivering vast socio-economic benefits and increasing energy autonomy and diversification in the Eastern Caribbean, thereby reducing energy prices and dependency on fossil fuels. DRE solutions are also key to supporting regional governments achieve their climate change ambitions and boost their resilience against extreme weather events.

    The event also highlighted NDCFI’s Eastern Caribbean Solar Challenge – a bold and exciting new renewable energy initiative set in motion this year to support Caribbean governments accelerate the uptake of solar energy in the region. In view of this, the dialogue addressed key opportunities provided by the initiative and the different ways to get involved.

    The event also shared practical insights for domestic and international DRE companies and investors to enter or scale-up in the Eastern Caribbean market, with a focus on innovative technologies and business models, policy frameworks and financial opportunities. In addition, the virtual GET.invest Matchmaking session allowed 50 participants to meet relevant business partners in the region.

  • Open Source in Energy Access Webinar (14 & 28 Sep 2021)

    Read more

    Open Source in Energy Access webinars were organised by EnAccess Foundation and supported by ARE. This two-part webinar series brought together open-source innovators, adopters, and donors about their experience with open sourcing in the energy access sector.

    Participants had the chance to hear about real-world examples about how open source has benefited companies in the energy access industry space and how adopters of open-source tools can build on top of open source successfully. The challenges of adopting an open-source strategy and how to address them were also discussed.

  • Speaking at CNBC: The Roads to Carbon Neutral (20 Sep 2021)

    Read more

    With demand for energy expected to rise sharply by 2050, the role of hybrid energy will be key in supporting a stable transition to renewables.

    ARE CEO David Lecoque explains how DRE hybridisation can power the world from the bottom up in this CNBC series.

  • ARE Investment Academy Concludes its 4-Week Training (22 Sep-13 Oct 2021)

    Read more

    Under its training & capacity building activities for DRE member companies, ARE in partnership with African National Renewable Energy Associations, and supported by GET.invest organised Virtual Investment Academies on improving access to finance for DRE projects and businesses for around 30 companies. 

    The objective of this programme was to provide capacity building and training to local early-stage SMEs active in the DRE sector in Africa on how to access financing for their businesses and projects and on the development of bankable project proposals, with a specific focus on fundraising support for DRE SMEs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The training provided an overview of existing funding sources and financing facilities as well as basic investment readiness and project development support and guidance on how to access existing funding sources.

  • ARE Launches Ambitious Energy Compact on Behalf of the DRE Sector at the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy (22-24 Sep 2021)

    Read more

    ARE CEO David Lecoque confirmed ARE's ambition to deliver power, create jobs and save the climate in the form of an Energy Compact. Concretely, ARE strives to enable the private sector to:

    • deliver sustainable electricity services to more than 500 million additional people
    • catalyse the creation of more than 5 million green jobs and
    • avoid more than 1 billion tonnes of CO2e emissions.

    Watch the video here.

  • Speaking at the West African Clean Energy & Environment Trade Fair & Conference - WACEE'21 (30 Sep 2021)

    Read more

    ARE moderated a closed session at WACEE'21 on 'Cross-Sectional Discussion on Solar, Water and Food Production'. The discussion highlighted the interrelation of energy and water and their efficient use, particularly in key high-consumption sectors such as agriculture, irrigation, food production and processing.

    Panelists included German business associations and ARE Members WaterKiosk (Boreal Light) and Africa GreenTec.

  • Speaking at the Economist: Future of Energy Week (4-7 Oct 2021)

    Read more

    With over 3,500 registrations, the Economist event broke down the concept of the energy transition, considered the issues that needed to be overcome and explored what a change in the energy system meant for Asia and the world. ARE made the case for DRE in the decarbonisation transition and the role of consumers in Asia.

    Missed the session? You can catch up here.

  • Catching up with Members & Partners at Intersolar Europe (Munich, 6-8 Oct 2021)

    Read more

    Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and takes place annually at the Messe München exhibition centre in Munich, Germany.

    It was a great occasion to catch up with current Members and Partners in what was ARE’s first physical event of the year since the pandemic.

  • Regulation & Policies to Achieve a Clean Energy Transition with DRE (13 Oct 2021)

    Read more

    The third webinar on "Regulation & Policies to Achieve a Clean Energy Transition with Decentralised Renewable Energy" was organised on 13 October 2021 as part of the PWCET Series.

    Fuelled by DRE solutions, the energy sector is evolving rapidly and undergoing a disruptive transformation. This ongoing energy transition is a central building block to a secure, environmentally-friendly, and economically successful supply of universal access to modern energy services. It is crucial that their integration is timely to achieve other interlinked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as healthcare, livelihoods, water and education.

    The webinar brought together experts from Germany, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria to discuss effective regulatory and policy development mechanisms and the shortcomings that are relevant for the wider rollout of DRE solutions to ensure a just and clean energy transition in their respective countries.

    [Presentation] [Recording]

  • ARE Awards HEDERA for their Innovative Digital Financial Solution at SAM 2021 (Kigali, 20-21 Oct)

    Read more

    ARE is an official partner of the Innovators' Village, organised within the framework of the SAM 2021 (Semaine Africaine de la Microfinance), the largest event dedicated to inclusive finance in Africa. The Innovators' Village is a key event to showcase innovative solutions. The event allowed more than 20 exhibitors to present their innovative products or services to 500 participants expected. 

    ARE will be offering a year’s worth of membership to one innovator working on digital financial solutions in the DRE sector. In recognition of the importance of digital impact management tools in the sector, ARE is thrilled to award Hedera with a prize at SAM 2021.

    HEDERA’s digital impact management tool is targeted at microfinance institutions, impact investors and green inclusive finance stakeholders. Their innovative tool helps these organisations better understand the needs of end-customers, to monitor standard indicators at the household level and to automatise reporting to business partners. Their solution has the potential to enable better access to finance for last-mile rural DRE customers.

    David Lecoque, CEO of ARE said that: "Fostering innovation is at the heart of ARE’s DNA and crucial to achieving the sustainable development objectives. ARE is very proud to work with ADA and dedicate a special prize to HEDERA for their work on advancing decentralised renewable energy for sustainable electrification.”

  • First Ever Madagascar Rural Electrification Forum to Turbocharge Malagasy DRE Market (20-21 Oct 2021)

    Read more

    ARE, together with the United Nations System in Madagascar (UNDP, UNIDO and UNCDF), Joint SDG Fund and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), organised the first-ever Madagascar Rural Electrification Forum on 20-21 October 2021.

    The Forum brought together almost 300 stakeholders from the DRE sector, including private and public sector representatives such as the Government of Madagascar, investors, project developers and technology providers. FERM showcased the potential of the DRE market in Madagascar and connected key financial and technical players to do business.

    The high-level discussions and debates attracted key private and public sector actors including ARE members ABC ContractingAfrica GreenTec, ADEME, ANKA Madagascar, Asantys Systems, atmosfair, BAE Batterien, Benoo, ENERSOL, Faber, Gommyr Power,  NRECA International, PhaseunRutten NES, Solar23, Studer Innotec SA, Tanatech, UpyaVoltalia and Zimpertec

    Get in touch with 15 ARE Members active or interested in the Malagasy market.

  • [Invite] COP26: Financing Sustainable Energy Access (9 Nov 2021)

    Read more

    The Directorate-General for International Partnerships of the European Commission (DG INTPA), GET.invest and ARE will co-organise a session on “Financing sustainable energy access: Building resilient and net-zero local economies”. The session will take place at 14.00-15.00 CET on 9 November 2021.

    Access to clean and reliable electricity is imperative to advance the just transition to net-zero local economies, catalyse socio-economic development and green job creation, climate change adaptation and COVID-19 recovery. The session will highlight the impact of EU financial mechanisms for private companies to accelerate rural electrification efforts, with testimonials from the ground.

    Participants will have the opportunity to join either in-person in Brussels or virtually.

    Register here

  • [Book your tickets] OFF-GRID Expo + Conference (Augsburg, 2-3 Dec 2021)

    Read more

    We are proud to co-organise the OFF-GRID Expo + Conference on 2-3 December 2021. After a successful series, we are incredibly excited to welcome you to Augsburg (Germany) and meet you in person.

    As the conference and matchmaking partners of the event, this year ARE is proud to join forces with Green People’s Energy, UNIDO ITPO Germany and Messe Augsburg to deliver an exciting programme. We’ll delve into new and innovative topics highlighting the nexus between energy & water, capacity building in the DRE sector, sustainable mining solutions & local community electrification, energy storage, and powering agriculture.

    Come and learn about the latest off-grid trends from the key experts in the sector and engage with them and other participants in the Off-grid B2B Matchmaking offering a perfect landscape for business and networking!

    Get your tickets now!

    ARE followers can use the discount code 21OEC_ARE_10 at checkout.

    ARE Members can contact us for a separate code.  

  • AEEP: European Financial Flows on SDG7 to Africa

    Read more

    The European Financial Flows on SDG7 to Africa report shows that achieving SDG7 is possible. Merely avoiding the economic losses from electricity outages in Africa would free up the funds required to provide access to sustainable energy services to all of Africa´s citizens. Annual additional funding of EUR 69 billion is required to meet this challenge – a significant but not insurmountable investment, given that it equals just 3.1% of African GDP and a mere 0.5% of European GDP.

    The AEEP’s report also highlights the strong commitment of African governments, European partners and other key players in the international community to reach this important goal by 2030. To ensure that goals become reality, the report concludes that enhanced co-operation in combination with increased ODA spending, private investments and a substantial increase in African SDG7-compliant national government spending is needed.

  • Efficiency for Access: Sustainable Expansion of Groundwater-Based Solar Water Pumping for Smallholder Farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Read more

    This study was undertaken to assess the potential risks to groundwater availability over the next decade and makes recommendations on how national governments and key solar and agricultural industry stakeholders can maintain groundwater use within sustainable limits.

    Solar water pumps (SWPs) are a clean, modern irrigation solution with the potential to improve livelihoods and food security for smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa. As less than 6% of the continent's farmland is irrigated, there is a tremendous need to accelerate SWP adoption for irrigated agriculture, which can help increase crop yields, diversification, and incomes that can have transformative development potential for rural communities. To achieve this potential, groundwater resources need to be used effectively and managed sustainably.

  • IEA: World Energy Outlook 2021

    Read more

    Against the backdrop of turbulent markets and a crucial meeting of the COP26 conference on climate change in Glasgow, the 2021 World Energy Outlook (WEO) provides an indispensable guide to the opportunities, benefits and risks ahead at this vital moment for clean energy transitions.

    The WEO is the energy world’s most authoritative source of analysis and projections. This flagship publication of the IEA has appeared every year since 1998. Its objective data and dispassionate analysis provide critical insights into global energy supply and demand in different scenarios and the implications for energy security, climate targets and economic development.

  • SEforALL: Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape 2021

    Read more

    Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7) sets out a global aim to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. The Energizing Finance: Understanding the Landscape report, developed by Sustainable Energy for All in partnership with Climate Policy Initiative and produced annually since 2017, provides a comprehensive analysis of tracked finance commitments flowing to the two key areas of energy access: electrification and clean cooking.

    This fifth edition of the report tracks finance for electricity and clean cooking committed in 2019 to 20 Sub-Saharan African and Asian countries — known as the high-impact countries (HICs) — which together are home to more than 80 percent of people globally without energy access.

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.

Past Issues