Energy access jobs on the rise

Marcus Wiemann, Executive Director, ARE

Help wanted: an energy access workforce

William Brent, Communications Director, Power for All

Home solar systems, mini-grids and other distributed renewable energy (DRE) solutions are experiencing rapid growth in many parts of Asia and Africa. And, with 1 billion people still lacking clean reliable electricity in these regions, demand is poised to boom.

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But what if there aren’t enough trained workers, including women and youth, to deliver these solutions, from manufacturing and assembly, to sales and marketing, to installation and service? And are entrepreneurs and financiers ready to create the companies required?

It’s a very real concern, especially in remote, rural areas where energy poverty and joblessness are most severe.

Despite rising demand for distributed renewables and productive use appliances, there is a growing shortage of ‘job-ready’ talent to finance, develop, install, operate and manage these systems in Asia and Africa. The problem is especially pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa), which has 600 million people living without electricity and only 16,000 people working in the renewable energy sector, according to a recent IRENA study.

ARE Partner Power for All and a global coalition have launched a Powering Jobs campaign, to close this gap. It aims to create the robust and diverse energy access workforce that will be needed to fill millions of new jobs and achieve universal energy access goals under Sustainable Development Goal 7.The coalition is made up of leading multilateral organisations, educational institutions, large and small companies and civil society groups. So far, the effort is being supported by the Schneider Electric Foundation and The Rockefeller Foundation.

Using distributed renewables to provide electricity to a billion people is a massive economic opportunity. It will create millions of good jobs in underserved rural areas that need economic activity the most.

While data on the industry’s full potential impact is limited, the positive signs are hard to miss. In India, research has found that rooftop solar systems create seven times as many jobs per megawatt as utility-scale solar projects. Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency has created 5,000 skilled and unskilled jobs in just the past year. In east and southern Africa, mini-grid installations created 36 jobs per project.

IRENA estimates that the DRE value chain could create at least 4.5 million jobs by 2030, including entrepreneurs and technicians, installers and distributors.

A key campaign priority is to conduct the first comprehensive survey on energy access jobs and their broad economic impacts. The first findings will be launched in early 2019 and the survey and additional qualitative research will be done annually to get a full global picture.

Identifying better workforce initiatives that can propel energy access efforts forward – especially for women and youth, who suffer the most from energy poverty – will be another key priority. Up until now, these issues have been treated marginally by national and international development policies, as well as donors.

Consider Africa:  Out of 13 million youth entering the labor market every year, only three million get jobs. And, with youth populations expected to double by 2050, job pressures are likely to worsen. Yet, only 2% of university graduates are engineers, which is where many future jobs lie.

“We are essentially training our youths for jobs of yesterday, not the jobs of the future,”said African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who has launched an initiative to create 25 million youth jobs in the next decade.

To learn more about the Powering Jobs campaign, visit


Micro-Grid Academy builds skills for faster deployment of decentralised renewable energy solutions

The Micro-Grid Academy (MGA) started its activities in Nairobi, Kenya, in January 2018: great interest immediately rose around the initiative, and in less than one year it involved almost 100 trainees and engaged top-class guest trainers. So, for future activities we needed to think out of the box – and the borders. And this is why the MGA is going to Zambia in November.

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The Micro-Grid Academy (MGA) is a joint initiative from RES4Med&Africa, KPLC, AVSI Foundation, Strathmore University, St. Kizito VTI and sponsored by Enel Foundation, that aims at building technical, managerial and entrepreneurial skills for East African professionals for a fast deployment of decentralized renewable energy solutions.

Set up in KPLC’s Institute of Energy Studies and Research in Nairobi, the MGA launched its pilot course in January, involving 40 trainees selected from a wide range of expertise and job sectors. In its April module the Academy trained 40 more trainees, of whom 20 were women selected by UNEP from the Africa Women Energy Entrepreneurs Framework.

To step it up a level, in July a group of key stakeholders of the energy sector gathered for the MGA Design Thinking Workshop to debate how to tailor a set of training initiatives that would best suit the needs and the possibilities of the targeted professionals. Altogether, the MGA has gathered around 100 trainees and engaged top-class trainers from MIT, Columbia University, State University of New York, UNEP, UN HABITAT, UNIDO, GIZ.

So what next, then?

From 22 to 28 November 2018, less than a year after its launch in Kenya, the MGA will temporarily move to Zambia for its MGA On Tour session. Organised in collaboration with University of Zambia’s Solar Energy Centre, the workshop will offer high-level trainings and a site visit to its participants selected among local decision makers, developers and academia, and will then join the RES4Africa Program Launch in Zambia conference on 27-28 November 2018.

2019 will be a tremendous year both in class, where training activities in Nairobi will start again in January with a course on O&M and data analysis, as well as outside, with a 30 kW hybrid mini-grid to be installed within the year in the MGA venue to provide the students with hands-on training opportunities.

With the aim to boost the diffusion of skilled personnel that could enter in, and change, the decentralized energy market, the MGA is offering companies the opportunity to contribute with scholarship packages, as well as the possibility to organize custom-tailored courses on specific topics and selected targets. For more information please visit the Micro-Grid Academy page or contact us writing to


Sustaining solar PV electrification in Mindanao communities

The International Copper Association Southeast Asia (ICASEA) is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to, among others, the promotion of sustainable energy systems. In 2010, ICASEA joined the USAID program which installed off-grid renewable energy systems in 170 remote rural communities in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, through the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (AMORE).

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The partnership between AMORE and ICASEA was initially driven by the need to develop and demonstrate commercial approaches for off-grid renewable energy electrification. This cooperation had been translated into specific activities that sought to achieve the following objectives:

  • Implementation of appropriate strengthening and commercialization activities of the BRECDAS and micro-entrepreneurs;
  • Collaboration towards increasing the awareness on commercial opportunities in off-grid renewable energy and rural electrification;
  • Facilitation of business and commercial transactions between BRECDAs (Barangay Renewable Energy and Community Development), cooperatives, microentrepreneurs, and suppliers with financiers;
  • Enhancing the feasibility, commercialization and sustainability of off-grid renewable energy for rural electrification projects; and
  • Expansion of the market for off-grid renewable energy and increasing electrification of off-grid areas.

For 18 months, the partnership progressed and successfully accomplished its objectives. The support provided by ICASEA allowed AMORE to exceed program targets, reach out to more beneficiaries and put in place wider mechanisms for sustainability. The following programme accomplishments would not have been possible without ICASEA’s support:

  • Strengthened the capacity of 16 companies (exceeding target by 60%)
  • Strengthened the capacity of 25 micro-entrepreneurs (exceeding target by 25%)
  • Trained, re-trained and mentored 63 BRECDAs (exceeding target by 530%) in rural RE service delivery
  • Provided technical (solar PV O&M, WASH O&M, MHP O&M) trainings to 613 individuals (301 male, 312 female), exceeding Program target by 2 %;
  • Provided professional and non-technical trainings to 1,149 individuals (559 male, 590 female)

In the course of implementing the agreed activities, the scope of the partnership was scaled up to cover other areas that demonstrated the impact of renewable energy technology to improving the quality of life of communities, especially the remote barangays assisted by AMORE. Support for AMORE’s school electrification activities to further demonstrate and promote the uses of RE. Two reference materials were published and distributed to 174 AMORE–assisted schools across the country. Trainings for teachers were likewise held to further capacitate them in the effective use of the solar PV-powered educational facilities.


Empowering people with quality training

In the field of solar energy, quality training and continuous learning are key to scale up. The solar companies that focus on rural electrification or operate in developing countries face difficulty in hiring skilled people. Often the staff comes from a population with low education background. Existing training processes do not suit these conditions, nor do they fit in the budget.

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LEDsafari developed HelioLearn, a unique tool for online training, designed for companies engaged in the solar energy field, in particular working with solar home system, roof-tops, mini-grids. HelioLearn consists of e-learning modules and assessments, which provide training to the staff or the channel partners. The e-learning platform can be used to track the performances of the trainees, but also as a hiring tool, to check applicants’ knowledge.

HelioLearn offers a wide range of courses, covering technical and business topics. They are fun and easy to follow and can be easily translated in all languages (French and English are already available).

LEDsafari also offers a train the trainer manual for training of solar technicians, based on Bloom’s taxonomy. It provides content with analogies, practical courses, class activities, examples and trainer guidelines.

LEDsafari is specialised in creating customised e-training modules for companies working in energy access areas.

LEDsafari platform has already trained more than 30,000 people in the world on solar. If you believe that quality trainings and pedagogy can help your staff do their job better, apply for FREE access today. Use the code: ARE2018.

Let us empower people together!


Training & capacity building: powering emerging energy markets

Energy markets face a wide range of barriers to the large-scale deployment needed to achieve economic & environmental goals. One core challenge is a lack of knowledge & experience with renewable energy & of capacities within the system. However, targeted capacity development measures can contribute to developing professionals that can contribute positively to this sector.

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Training / capacity building, stakeholder engagement; research & impact assessment serve as cornerstones of Stimulus services as an innovative consulting firm, working across developed & developing countries with the aim of accelerating the transition towards more sustainable economies, societies & environments. Aiming to add value to a kaleidoscope of scenarios across the vast renewable energy domain, some of the milestones we have been able to achieve so far -  

Capacity Building & Training

  • SUNService: Customer Service Workshop for BOP Market Service Providers facilitated for 50 BOP solar service providers at Phaesun Off-Grid Workshop 2017 in collaboration with the Alliance for Rural Electrification
  • Design, development & facilitation of a “Solar Quality Awareness” Master Trainer Program for 20 master trainers, who conducted the same program on quality; “ensuring solar quality in product purchase & installation” awareness 600 solar installers
  • Access to Safe Drinking Water (ASDW) Project – ‘project sustainability’ training for the community, rural Punjab, Pakistan – 100+ families 
  • Development of ‘renewable energy awareness 101’ training for school children

Research & Communication

  • Customer Service Challenges in Rural Off-Grid PV Markets research focused on behaviour & communication scenarios that impact overall customer experiences in rural off-grid markets as well as promote use of quality solar products - responses solicited from 75 off-grid practitioners across 10 countries.
  • Innovating for Energy Access – (research) scoping rural electrification opportunities that enabled development & rendering of customised business models focused at improving access to products & finance. As part of the process 2,000+ individuals & community members were made aware of investing in quality solar products 

The renewable energy sector offers great employment potential. It creates new jobs & new qualifications at different stages of the technology value chain. Depending on local conditions, the net impact of expanded renewable energy deployment has different macro employment impacts across different countries. The identification of future demand for new skills for solar & wind energy related products & services, & the resulting need for new educational & training supply, will play an important part in the design of capacity building strategies.

Remote island celebrates 10 years of small-scale wind energy

A remote Scottish Island - The Isle of Eigg; was amongst the pioneers of small-scale wind being utilised for the electrification of remote and rural communities. This pioneering installation celebrated its 10th anniversary this year after originally being commissioned in February 2008. Continuous power was made available for the first time to all residents and businesses on the island. Until then, they were dependent on costly and inefficient diesel generators.

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4 x small scale (SD6) wind turbines (6kW each) from SD Wind Energy (who manufacture 3 kW and 6 kW turbines) were used as one of the primary energy sources in the hybrid system, which also consists of Solar PV and a Hydro scheme. The mini-grid system is entirely stand-alone and has no external input from a mainland utility.

The SD6 wind turbine was selected as the best choice of small wind turbine due to its low servicing requirement, low cost of ownership, ease of installation and ability to withstand extreme wind conditions which regularly affect the region.

SD’s Managing Director – Richard Caldow commented “The electrification of Eigg is a great example of how the local community can engage with specialist suppliers of renewable energy. This project was one we were very proud of back in 2008 and we are even more proud today that the hybrid system with our small wind turbines has helped the remote community prosper, expand in population and become an award-winning example that can easily be replicated across the globe.”

The SD wind turbines do not require to switch off in high winds which makes them perfect for areas affected by typhoons and hurricanes. The turbines are also manufactured for both hot and cold climates and can also be supplied in varying voltages to allow them to be interconnected to existing mini-grids or become the core technology in newly designed mini-grids.

Mr Caldow added “We have been designing and installing small scale wind turbines for off-grid and mini-grid developments for over 25 years. We understand the value in providing sustainable power in remote areas. The Eigg installation has been referenced so many times as a great example, so much so that it was visited by a delegation from Malawi and more recently has been replicated on the Island of Canna where we are commissioning a new mini-grid this week with 6 of our SD6 wind turbines.”

T: + 44 1560 486570

AMIGO Compact EMS to control power supply & demand in off-grid polar village in Russia

RTSoft has designed an EMS/SCADA system based on AMIGO platform for the project of upgrade and hybridisation of power plant in Mezen village, Russia. The object of power supply is an off-grid polar village with over 3,5 thousand inhabitants. It undermines retrofit of outdated diesel power plant (diesel) 8 x 800 kW, 1 x 630 kW with diesel 7 x 800 kW, energy storage system (ESS) (capacity 280 kWh, output 120 kW) and solar power plant 250 kWp.

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The customer requirements are energy production cost reduction and electricity tariff optimisation. It is requested not only to integrate equipment from various vendors, but also to set up its real time control and management in the most cost-effective prognostic manner, taking into account the dynamically changing environmental conditions and load profiles.

It is expected that AMIGO Compact EMS/SCADA implementation will allow to have additional 5-7% diesel fuel savings on top of integrated hybrid system. Customer operation and maintenance and power production costs reduction are coming from:

  • spinning reserve reduction by the proper management of ESS and solar production forecasting;
  • ensuring required power quality by managing ESS and setting the optimal droop-curves for each diesel unit;
  • extending diesel lifetime by forecasting consumption, solar generation and performing the optimal unit commitment for each unit;
  • automating blackstarts for generating equipment, minimizing starts/stops;
  • balancing the grid through flexible loads management;
  • reducing number of outages, equipment downtime, and staff predictive alarming

AMIGO Compact EMS/SCADA control room provides monitoring, control and visualisation of microgrid. By default, the system operates in automatic mode, though switching to manual dispatcher control mode is also provided. Then the system continues to carry out the tasks of monitoring and calculating the optimal values of equipment operation parameters. The recommended parameters are visualised for dispatcher in the form of graph of current and predicted values 48 hours ahead with discreteness of 15 minutes, updated every minute.

RTSoft is eager to extend further hybrid microgrids with advanced AMIGO functionality resulting into energy production cost optimisation, system balance improvement and awareness extension. Should you be interested to get more details on AMIGO Compact EMS we encourage you to visit

Big opportunities with hybrid wind-solar generation

Asia offers extraordinary opportunities for the development of wind power generation. With its thousands of islands and remote locations and being well-endowed of wind resources, it offers huge possibilities for the deployment for CO2 neutral and cost-efficient renewable energy.

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Solar and wind represent the most available resources in the region and are considered the easiest to exploit, as well as a safe, clean and reliable form of energy. For this reason, we at Espe believe that a combination of wind, solar and energy storage, in parallel to a gen-set, can represent the ideal technical solution for those islands and remote locations. Also, large scale wind turbines are sometimes not even a possible solution, being the loads smaller and the location difficult to reach, while small-medium wind turbines together with solar are ideal.

The perfect application is a combination of small-medium wind turbines, able to generate a great amount of power, throughout the day and night, reducing significantly the need to store energy.

A well-designed hybrid mini grid, combining wind and solar generation in parallel to diesel generators and managed by an Energy Management System (EMS), with the minimum capacity of electrical storage, can therefore allow significant cost savings, typically providing a double-digit return on investment and represent a huge environmental improvement.

Espe is a leading Italian manufacturer of small-medium wind turbines and a system integrator and is now providing turn-key solutions for the hybridisation of existing loads or development of new ones. All ESPE production is based on the strictest and most advanced standards, designed according to international IEC 61400 standards, with a vast range of turbines from 20 kW to 100 kW, ideal for such applications. Espe is known for its quality and advanced technology and its turbines are the best choice when high efficiency and reliability are required.

Capable of working in any wind condition (up to IEC Class 1 / wind resistance 70 m/s), these turbines are fully automated, self-regulating and provide a remote monitoring platform through a SCADA system. All Espe turbines require little maintenance and can be easily transported to remote islands and locations providing a reliable and high-performance power source to create an energy smart grid.

Off-grid solar ice making technology economically attractive for Filipino fishermen

This recent study by HNU describes a concept for the productive use of renewable energy to support the economic development in a rural area of the Philippines. As an example, productive use serves the application of cooling equipment based on electricity generation by solar technology. More precisely, the business case of an off-grid ice maker generating ice cubes for fishermen of a small island in the Philippines is analysed.

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The result is compared with the existing case, i.e. buying ice cubes from an ice cube producer using the island grid based on a large diesel genset. The business case is based on a series of interviews of important stakeholders included in the value chain of the fishery business in March 2018. These are the fishermen, the officials of the province level and the local level and further the fish traders being involved in the sale and distribution process.

The result shows that the application of a pure off-grid ice making facility is economically feasible. The biggest challenge for a successful implementation of the concept is the lack of capital for the investment in the off-grid facility. The investment demand typically exceeds classical pay-as-you-schemes. Thus, ways of developing alternative microfinance instruments have to be elaborated further for a successful implementation. The proposed concept of a foundation of a cooperative with fishermen as shareholders and a micro finance institution as a debtholder contributes to an increase of the income of the fishermen of roughly 14%.

Read the full study

Local manufacturing of small wind turbines for hybrid systems in Nepal

SmartRUE has been conducting research, demonstration and capacity building projects on rural electrification applications, within the Rural Electrification Research Group (RurERG) of the NTUA.

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In this context, RurERG joined Nepalese organisations KAPEG and PEEDA in order to realise an off-grid rural electrification project using locally manufactured small wind turbines and solar panels. The electrification project was part of a SEPS knowledge exchange activity founded by WISIONS under the title ‘On-line Design Tools Locally Manufactured Small Wind Turbines’. The aim of the project was the use of the open source small wind turbine design tools developed by RurERG, in order to strengthen the knowledge base of local practitioners working with PV/Wind hybrid systems in the region.

This was achieved through theoretical and practical courses on PV/Wind hybrid systems, along with the implementation of a rural electrification project, specifically the electrification of the local health clinic and the offices of the Village Ward in Mityal, a rural community in Southwest Nepal.

The capacity building and training project consisted of a two-day course on hybrid system design in Kathmandu, during which a small wind turbine was designed using locally available materials, such as Ferrite magnets for the generator, which then lead up to a five-day construction course in cooperation with Kathmandu University, during which the small wind turbine was constructed. A total of 25 people participated in the courses, including 15 graduate and undergraduate students from three different educational institutions of the country and 10 participants from various renewable energy companies and NGOs.

The practical sessions of constructing a 2.4 m rotor diameter wind turbine were organized in three working groups. The woodworking group carved the three blades of the rotor out of pine wood, the metalworking group fabricated the steel frame of the generator and the furling tail system, and the generator manufacturing group winded the coils of the stator and fabricated the magnet rotor disks. Photos of the construction process can be found here.

The training course concluded with the installation of the locally manufactured small wind turbine in the community of Mityal, as part of a hybrid off-grid system along with 600 W of solar panels, a 700 W inverter, a 24 V 200 Ah battery bank and a diversion load charge controller. Since its installation, the hybrid system has been providing electricity for mobile phone charging, lighting and laptop computers in the Ward offices and refrigeration of vaccines and lighting in the local health clinic.


  • Training on a planning tool for hybridisation in the Philippines

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    A training on hybridisation and the application of a “Simplified Planning Tool” (SPT) for the Philippines was hosted by Reiner Lemoine Institut (RLI) in Taguig City, Manila on 17-18 September 2018. The tool was developed by RLI in context of the EU’s “Access to Sustainable Energy Programme” (ASEP) and will support the planning and evaluation of hybridisation projects in the Philippines.

    The Philippines have an urgent need to improve energy access, as the country is evolving at a rapid pace from a developing to an emerging country. Economic growth, however, remains limited to a few key regions. A particular challenge lies in the country's geographical structure: More than 7,700 islands, many of them small and remote, need reliable and sustainable electricity to improve local living conditions. Currently, the quality of supply, which is mainly based on polluting and expensive diesel generators, is not sufficient. At the same time, renewable energy resources are readily available, so a sustainable transformation of the diesel-based systems to hybrid or fully renewables-based systems is a reasonable option.

    The Government of the Philippines has recently adopted renewable portfolio standards to accelerate renewable energy deployment in remote grids. The need for experts to rapidly assess mini-grids techno-economically is high. The training was therefore designed as a training-of-trainers activity, in which participants were intensively coached on using the SPT and thus assuming the role of knowledge multipliers.

  • Hybrid waste water management plant to use 100% renewable energy and bring low-carbon energy to island communities

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    On 18 October 2018, key stakeholders in the European decentralised renewable energy sector gathered to visit the waste water treatment installation on Texel Island, in North-Holland. The purpose of the site visit was to learn and to discuss experiences of the Low Carbon Off-Grid Communities (LOGiC) project and other decentralised renewable energy projects in Europe.

    The waste water treatment installation is one out of three LOGiC pilot projects. It aims to match supply and demand in balance for a decentralised renewable energy hybrid system (DHES) as well as to distribute the generated energy on the existing network of the island.
    ‌Three low-carbon technologies are combined in the project: energy storage by storage in water level (equivalent power to be determined in the project), small scale battery storage for peak shaving (budgeted at max 100 kW) and PV energy.

    ‌The solar panels will be placed at the waste water treatment plant. The energy distributed to the local water installations by the grid authority Liander. The total project cost is EUR 3 million of which EUR 360,000 comes from Interreg North-West Europe via the Low Carbon Off-grid Communities (LOGiC) project.

  • ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum 2018 (13-15 November 2018)

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    After a successful, 1st edition of the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF), the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, (ECREEE), is organising ESEF 2018, in Dakar on 13-15 November 2018. The overall objective of ESEF is to shape the landscape for a regional market for renewable energy and energy efficiency by ensuring innovative partnerships, market-friendly policies, forward-thinking financing and an inclusive ecosystem for increase development of the energy sector in the ECOWAS region. This three-day, multi-stakeholder forum is designed to be the premier event in West Africa for sharing best practices, promoting groundbreaking solutions (technical, technological and financial) in order to meet the region’s ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.  

    ESEF 2018 will bring together over 200 participants from governments, project developers, financial sector such as development and commercial banks, investment funds, EPCs, etc. The event is designed in a way that allows plenty of networking opportunities. Customised meetings will be set-up for sponsors looking for specific actors.

    By popular demand, this year, a large exhibition/fair to the activities of the Forum will be organised in order to allow various stakeholders especially from the private sector to showcase their products, services and know-how.

    ARE Vice-Presidents Aaron Leopold (AMDA) and Guilherme Collares (EDP), and ARE Policy & Business Development Manager David Lecoque will add to the discussions.

  • AidEx Brussels Conference: Solar Pavilion (Brussels, 14-15 November 2018)

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    Working with ARE, this year’s AidEx will include a Pavilion for buyers of solar and off-grid energy equipment to meet suppliers.

    AidEx is the world’s largest and oldest established event for professionals in aid and development. On 14-15 November 2018, our eighth show will attract 2,500 individuals from civil society: government, the EU, UN Agencies, Red Cross and Red Crescent and a large number of NGOs - all organisations that buy Energy-related equipment for rural and wilderness locations.

    AidEx combines a top-level conference for which the theme this year is The Digital Revolution and its Impact on Aid and Development. There is also an exhibition of 200+ stands. Buyers will come in large numbers to see all the latest technology impacting the delivery of aid.

    Solar products are at the heart of the exhibition and I hope you will consider having an exhibition stand in this Solar Pavilion. The cost is £490 per metre and the smallest space you can have is 2m x 2m. For bookings placed through ARE, there is also a 10% discount.

    Learn more about the solar pavilion

  • Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy International Conference (Bissau, 6-7 December 2018)

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    The high-level event is co-organised by the Government of Guinea Bissau, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in cooperation with ALER and other partners.

    The conference follows-up on the Guinea Bissau Sustainable Energy Investment Workshop, held on 4 May 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, in conjunction with the Sustainable Energy For All Forum. The conference will feature the presentation of the 2030 Sustainable Energy Vision and Investment Strategy for the country and will include field visits to major PV solar hybrid mini-grids.

    The conference is another mile-stone of the UNIDO project “Promoting investments in small to medium scale renewable energy technologies in the electricity sector of Guinea Bissau”, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

  • 3rd Energy Week (Montevideo, 10-14 December 2018)

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    The Energy Week is a space for the exchange of experiences and knowledge of the energy sector, through the generation of business opportunities and project financing.

    This event has become the main energy benchmark in the region with the presence of high authorities from the sector, such as the representatives of the governments of the 27 Member Countries of the Latin American Energy Organization (Olade).

    This year the III Energy Week will feature the first Latin American and Caribbean Business Roundtable of the sector. This space will be an excellent opportunity to establish contacts with clients and new partners for future negotiations with the countries of the region. This is a great chance to develop projects and studies that contribute to the progress of the energy sector in the short, medium and long term.

  • Philippines Mini-Grid B2B Forum (Manila, 19-21 September 2018

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    Potential foreign investors that recently participated in a business-to-business (B2B) matchmaking session in Manila expressed interest in partnering with local electric cooperatives to invest in clean energy mini-grid.

    This was the result of a post-event survey conducted by ARE that co-organised the first-ever Philippines Mini-Grid Business-to-Business (B2B) Forum in Manila on 19-21 September 2018. The B2B Forum was primarily organised by the Department of Energy (DOE) with the support of the European Union (EU). The Philippines National Electrification Administration (NEA) was also one of the supporting organisations. 

    Based on the survey results, sixteen (16) foreign participants said they would or were very likely to invest in mini-grids in the Philippines.

    More than 280 participants from the private sector including technology providers, project developers and investors from Asia, Europe and North America and the public sector took part in the Forum. The Forum was staged to provide participants a platform to partner with electric cooperatives in bringing electricity to rural communities by building clean renewable energy mini-grids. 

    Over 100 participants entered into more than 185 direct personal meetings on the final B2B Matchmaking day, with almost 90 meetings leading to cooperation.

    The Forum highlighted key bottlenecks as well as solutions to achieve full energy access in the Philippines and to increase the share of renewable energy in existing diesel mini-grids and power plants.We will present the key recommendations from the Forum at 'Accelerating renewable energy based electrification in small island contexts' side event at IOREC in Singapore on 1 November 2018.

    Download the key recommendations to decision makers

    Read the full press release.

  • ARE Microgrid Workshop – Energy Storage China (Tangshan, 20 September 2018)

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    The workshop organised by ARE in Partnership with Messe Duesseldorf attracted over 100 participants who wanted to learn more about energy storage solutions and R&D to drive the international market for different applications of the technology.

    The purpose of the workshop was to move the market forward, bringing together thought leaders, energy industry executives and project managers from around the world for intensive networking and information sharing concerning the design, implementation and operation of global microgrid systems. The emphasis was on maximising the effective use of renewable and distributed energy resources, refining the business model for a range of microgrid applications, and sharing real-world microgrid case studies in both on-grid and remote environments.

    ARE Member Customized Energy Solutions moderated the panel with fellow ARE Members Energo Labs, Chilwee Group and GE Ventures. 

  • Power Nigeria (Lagos, 25-27 September 2018)

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    Power Nigeria Exhibition & Conference was a platform to work towards adopting clean, affordable and sustainable energy solutions in Nigeria. The conference attracted 115 exhibitors and more than 2,500 visitors. This was the chance for participants to gain regional markets, insight into the latest innovations and connect with various stakeholders.

    The conference also provided first-hand information on the latest power solutions in Nigeria such as mini-grids initiatives, smart meters, solar projects and the implementation of blockchain within the power sector.

    ARE Board Member Prosper Magali (Ensol) presented ARE experiences on Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE) and on the forecast role of mini-grids. The session, which was attended by around 50 participants, generated huge interest as Nigeria moves into the mini-grid market space.

  • Business Forum for Decentralised Energy in Developing Countries (Vienna, 2-3 October 2018)

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    On 3 October 2018, a high-level conference on “Regional Cooperation to Accelerate Sustainable Energy Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Developing Countries” was organised by the Austrian EU Presidency and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in conjunction with the Informal Meeting of the EU Directors General for Development Cooperation. The meeting discussed how regional approaches and tools could be used accelerate the uptake of decentralised renewable technology markets in low-income countries.

    Prior to the conference, ARE organised a Business Forum and invited technology start-ups and businesses from Africa and Europe to discuss the practical barriers they are facing in making access to decentralised renewable energy solutions in rural and remote areas a reality by 2030. The Forum was organised by the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) and ARE in collaborations with the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (BMEIA), the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

    As a result of the interactive panel discussions with 9 start-up and SME companies from and active in Africa, the need for support to the private sector to deliver clean energy access solutions in a timely and efficient way was highlighted. The following key recommendations were made and addressed to decisionmakers:

    1. Large, donor supported patient debt, equity and results-based financing tools are needed to bring in other financiers and to allow proven models to scale;
    2. Donor support is needed to de-risk tools such as off-taker risk guarantees, and political and forex risk mitigation, to allow companies to truly deliver last mile / universal energy; and
    3. Strong focus on the supply(ier) side complementary to the demand-side is needed. Donor support for economically productive local activity is urgently needed in the form of microfinance and entrepreneurship support. 

    At the same occasion, ARE and AEEP launched its latest publication on “Energy Access from the Bottom Up: Start-up and SME Showcase 2018.”

    The Business Forum and the High-Level Conference was an important preparatory meeting for the EU-Africa Summit to be organised on 17 December 2018 in Vienna.

    Read the full press release

  • 4th International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference (Singapore, 31 October – 1 November 2018) & Renewable Energy for Healthcare

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    The International Off-Grid Renewable Energy Conference organised by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is the global platform dedicated for sharing experience and best practices about design and implementation of enabling policies, tailored financing schemes, innovative business models and technology applications for stand-alone and mini-grid systems. The 4th edition of IOREC will be held in Singapore on 31 October - 1 November 2018, during the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), 2018 as part of Asia Clean Energy Summit – Conference and Exhibition.

    With over half a billion people in Asia are still without access to electricity, the synergy with the ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting, chaired by Singapore in 2018, and with the Asia Clean Energy Summit, will greatly help highlight the role decentralised renewable energy solutions can play in electrification strategies in the region and beyond, as well as the role of off-grid renewable energy in achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals.

    ARE is delighted to organise an the IOREC Exhibition with the following 12 companies: Trina Solar, FRIEM, International Copper Association, GIZ Myanmar, GFM, Plug the Sun, Practical Action, Rahimafrooz Solar, SparkMeter, Studer Innotec, Tiger Power and Windkinetic. The Exhibition is meant to give the private sector the opportunity to present its products & projects and showcase the technologies & know-how at the forefront of off-grid renewables.

    IRENA is also organising the 1st International Conference on Renewable Energy for Healthcare is to be held on 2 November 2018 immediately after IOREC. The conference will be a unique opportunity to discuss challenges to the deployment of renewables for health centers, present successful case studies and identify technical, regulatory, policy, and financial options which can accelerate the deployment of renewable energy for the electrification of health centres in rural communities.

    The Energy for All Investor Forum 2018 which will also be held on 2 November is an annual regional event organised by ADB that highlights important trends and best practices in the energy access sector. At the centre of this event is an investor matching activity wherein bankable SMEs that serve the energy poor are promoted to impact funds, climate funds and other financing institutions. By facilitating private sector investment in this manner, ADB aims to broaden the impact of these SMEs in the Asia Pacific Region. This activity may also result in the adoption of the technologies developed by these SMEs in mini-grids, and other applications in the broader renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors.

  • [Invite] G-STIC 2018: Energy Positive Communities (Brussels, 28-30 November 2018)

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    G-STIC 2017 highlighted that, to realise and accelerate opportunities for integrated technological solutions, it is vital to work across sectors, to promote new business models and value chains, to demonstrate how

    One of the main conclusions of the energy debate at G-STIC 2017 was: to reach the SDGs, we need to pay as much or even more attention to local energy communities as to the central energy system. Both parts of the system are not to be considered in competitive sense but need to be matched. In this context we define energy positive communities as: neighbourhoods, villages, districts or even cities that are actively involved in the development of their own energy system based on renewable energy and integrated in the broader energy system. The question is not: what is the value of the electricity sold, but what is the value of an additional child educated by providing affordable electricity, what is the value of an additional patient treated in a local hospital by providing reliable electricity. It is about integrating services, services for energy, health, food, water, waste etc.  

    What is the key success factor for energy positive communities?

    The key success factor for energy positive communities is bringing together two worlds: the world of the big energy infrastructures (based on the national energy plans) on one side and the world of the local energy initiatives on the other side. So, the key questions are:

    • how do the national energy plans take into account those local energy initiatives?
    • how do national energy plans value the local energy services?
    • when and where will those two worlds meet each other physically? 
    • which technologies are necessary to make that match?

    These are the questions that we will discuss at G-STIC 2018. If we do not succeed in answering those questions it will be very hard to achieve a stable investment climate for energy positive communities. It is not an easy challenge but it is a crucial one.

    We hope that you will join us and jointly find the answer.

    David Lecoque will contribute to the debate on critical success factors for achieving impact in local energy communities. In particular, he will explain how productive use of renewable energy is a driver of economic development.

  • [Invite] Intersolar India: ARE Off-Grid Workshop (Bangalore, 13 December 2018)

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    ARE and Intersolar India are delighted to invite you to the Off-Grid Power Workshop 2018 in Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, Bangalore on 13 December 2018, as well as the off-grid evening networking reception on 12 December 2018. The workshop has the following objectives:

    Sharing information on new innovations and digital technologies to bring down technology costs of decentralised renewable energies in India, such as mini/microgrids.

    Exploring and supporting the link between decentralised renewable energy and job creation in rural areas of India;

    Promoting business and project development in the decentralised renewable energy sector in India.

    Interested in speaking in one of the two following sessions? Please check the Sponsoring Proposal:

    • Session I: Innovative digital technologies to bring down costs of decentralised renewable energy in India
    • Session II: Decentralised renewable energy & job creation in rural India



  • [Save-the-Date] 5th ARE Energy Access Investment Forum (Abidjan, 13-14 March 2019)

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    As a proud partner key deliverable to SEforALL the ARE Energy Access Investment Forum is a well-established political exchange and business supporting platform to assist ARE Members, partners, panellists, participants and interested stakeholders from the private and public sector in their efforts to run their clean energy access activities more effectively by:

    • getting informed early on about future off-grid sector developments and upcoming initiatives and
    • identifying and getting introduced to the most interesting actors to present their own business proposals.

    Based on the good feedback received from participants as well as from Members and Partners on the four previous ARE Fora, it is the objective of ARE – also in respect of its grown Membership of 150+ Members -  to continue taking leadership as the voice of the industry for sustainable decentralised clean energy solutions and to organise the 5th edition of the ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Abidjan on 13-14 March 2019. To attract good participation from industry ARE will also hold its AGM the day before there.

    More information coming soon

    Sponsorship options:

    We have designed a few sponsoring options, enabling you to be visible in the market, speak at this leading event, and/or exhibit.

    You can find all sponsoring options and their pricing in the Sponsor Pack.

  • ARE: Philippines Mini-Grid B2B Forum: Key Recommendations for Decision Makers

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    With 7,641 islands, 1,702 potential off-grid sites and around 400 MW of diesel generating capacity installed in over 320 off-grid missionary areas, the Philippines offers tremendous potential for the implementation of clean energy and hybrid mini-grids.

    Under the new administration, the Department of Energy of the Philippines’ goal is to attain 100% electrification for all islands of the Philippines by 2020.

    This is why the government is reviewing current policy and regulatory procedures that will streamline the process on Qualified Third Parties (QTP) and New Power Producer (NPP) investments in hybrid and clean energy mini-grids in the Philippines. The revision will pave the way for collaboration between electric cooperatives and private sector players, which could provide innovative and competitive energy access solutions to answer the country’s off-grid power supply challenge.

    To make use of this window of opportunity, the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) through the support of the European Union through its Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP), organised the Philippines Mini-Grid B2B Forum on 19-21 September 2018 in Manila Hotel. The Philippines National Electrification Administration (NEA) was also one of the supporting organisations.

    The Forum brought together 283 local and international players from more than 30 countries to share knowledge on the latest mini-grid industry developments and innovative technical solutions to bring down the costs, as well as to link key players to form mini-grid partnerships.

    The Philippines Mini-Grid B2B Forum highlighted key bottlenecks as well as solutions to achieve full energy access in the Philippines and to increase the share of renewable energy in existing diesel mini-grids and power plants.

    Key lessons learnt from the Forum include:

    1. Increasing capacity of the most challenged local Philippine electric cooperatives
    2. Further improving regulations for clean energy mini-grids in the Philippines
    3. Financing and subsidies for hybrid/clean energy mini-grids in the Philippines
    4. Lack of coordination between private sector mini-grid developers, government and electric cooperatives
  • IRENA: Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review 2018

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    The industry created more than 500 000 new jobs globally in 2017, with the total number of people employed in renewables (including large hydropower) surpassing 10 million for the first time.

    Renewable Energy and Jobs, presents the status of employment, both by technology and in selected countries, over the past year. Jobs in the sector (including large hydropower) increased 5.3% in 2017, for a total of 10.3 million people employed worldwide, according to this fifth edition in the series.

    China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan have remained the world’s biggest renewable energy employers, representing more than 70% of such jobs. While growing numbers of countries reap socio-economic benefits from renewables, the bulk of manufacturing still takes place in relatively few countries. Four-fifths of all renewable energy jobs in 2017 were in Asia, the report finds.

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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