Single Week Brings More Than $125 Million to Off-​​Grid Energy Sector

Huff Post Green
October 26, 2015

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Last week was a huge week for pri­vate and pub­lic invest­ment in the off-​​grid clean energy sec­tor. The off-​​grid sec­tor con­tin­ues to grow, offer­ing afford­able, reli­able energy ser­vices to unelec­tri­fied and under-​​electrified pop­u­la­tions around the world. Access to off-​​grid light­ing and appli­ances can have trans­for­ma­tive life-​​changing impacts, open­ing the door to numer­ous socioe­co­nomic and health benefits.

Among the notable announce­ments from last week was the White House’sannounce­ment of U.S. Gov­ern­ment sup­port for off-​​grid clean energy, as well as inde­pen­dent com­mit­ments from 19 com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions. Together, the com­mit­ments will “… pro­vide access to off-​​grid clean energy prod­ucts and ser­vices to more than 500 mil­lion peo­ple by 2020.” To put that num­ber in per­spec­tive, an esti­mated 1.3 bil­lion peo­ple glob­ally lack access to mod­ern elec­tric­ity, and many more have only lim­ited or unre­li­able access. This com­mit­ment from the U.S. Gov­ern­ment and com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions could serve more than a third of the peo­ple lack­ing elec­tric­ity access worldwide.

The pack­age of announce­ments from the White House includes the fol­low­ing in terms of pub­lic financing:

The Depart­ment of Energy will also be launch­ing the next round of Global Light­ing and Energy Access Part­ner­ship (Global LEAP) Awards. These awards rec­og­nize super-​​efficient off-​​grid appli­ances such as fans and tele­vi­sions, which allow mod­est amounts of energy to pro­vide a greater range of ser­vices than was pre­vi­ously pos­si­ble. The Depart­ment of Energy is also mak­ing four addi­tional announce­ments related to Global LEAP, includ­ing estab­lish­ment of a mini-​​grids qual­ity assur­ance frame­work and an inter­ac­tive appli­ance data platform.

In addi­tion to this pub­lic financ­ing, the inde­pen­dent pri­vate com­mit­ments from 19 com­pa­nies and orga­ni­za­tions amount to $125 mil­lion in new financ­ing for off-​​grid energy in sub-​​Saharan Africa and South Asia. These inde­pen­dent com­mit­ments included $15 mil­lion from the David and Lucile Packard Foun­da­tion to Sun­Fun­der, Simpa Net­works, and Off-​​Grid Elec­tric, and $25 mil­lion from DBL Part­ners and SolarCity into Off-​​Grid Elec­tric in a Series C round.

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