Newsletter - April 2015
Towards Achieving Universal Energy Access by 2030

Richenda's Message

Dear Friends,Richenda Van Leeuwen

This month saw the official launch of the Clean Energy Access Network in New Delhi, India, after two years of country level engagement by a diverse coalition of stakeholders led by 12 founding members, including the United Nations Foundation's Energy Access Practitioner Network. In the coming months CLEAN will embark on an ambitious task – supporting the full contribution of decentralized energy services to addressing energy access for over 300 million people in India – with a specific focus on removing barriers including policy, financing, training and technology.

We also passed the 2,000 member mark this month so national level networks like CLEAN, are increasingly important mechanisms to engage with like-minded others in the sector working across a range of types, stages and technologies, and join collectively to address common issues.

April also saw the release of a new report by the World Health Organization 'Access to modern energy services for health facilities in resource-constrained settings' that explores in tandem, key aspects of universal health coverage and universal access to modern energy services with specific reference to electrification of health facilities in developing countries. The report helps inform the Sustainable Energy For All initiative's high-impact opportunity on Energy For Women's and Children's Health jointly led by the UN Foundation, UN Women and WHO.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming SE4ALL forum in New York – if you can't join in person, please follow the proceedings on Twitter via @energyaccessPN

Warm Regards,
richenda sign 2

Richenda Van Leeuwen Executive Director, Energy Access,
United Nations Foundation.

Member Announcements


  • Practitioner Network members take several spots in the Powering Agriculture semifinals
    Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) received 871 applications for its second Global Innovation Call. The Founding Partners recently announced that 106 out of the 871 applicants were invited to submit Stage 2 Full Proposals by April 30th. Congratulations to the 20 Practitioner Network members who are already among the semi-finalists.

  • Sunlabob Renewable Energy secures $2.1 million impact investment
    Sunlabob Renewable Energy, the Laos-based company specializing in rural renewable energy and clean water solutions, finalized a $2.1 million investment from Truestone Global Impact Fund, a UK-based impact investment fund jointly managed by Uberis Capital and Truestone Impact Investment Management.

    The investment will aid the continued international growth of Sunlabob, which has provided its off-grid renewable energy services in more than 20 countries to date throughout Asia, Africa and the Pacific.

    Andy Schroeter, Sunlabob's CEO, said: "This investment underscores Sunlabob's transition from a Laos-focused start-up to an international company providing off-grid sustainable energy expertise throughout the developing world. We are proud to leverage our 15 years of experience in remote, challenging areas of Laos to be able to now catalyze access to clean energy and water in places ranging from the islands of Micronesia to communities in sub-Saharan Africa."

    Founded in 2000 with a focus on combining high-quality technology with village-based training and operational models, Sunlabob provides rural electrification solutions to governments, multilateral development agencies, non-profit organizations and the private sector. The company reports its products, services and programs have enabled access to clean energy or water for more than 250,000 people in rural areas of Laos and more than 600,000 people internationally. Read More.

  • SELCO: A sojourn to India's last mile
    SELCO India has released a series of videos showcasing the role of energy in transforming the lives of people in different parts of India. The stories span a number of communities in India – from the lives of the Siddi community in Karnataka to the inhabitants of a remote fishing village in Tamil Nadu – documenting the triumphs and life-changing transformation that can come with access to electricity, increased incomes, and enhanced opportunity.

  • Philips launches its new LifeLight range
    Philips is ramping up its portfolio of solar lighting solutions with the launch of Philips LifeLight, a new zero-energy, solar-powered LED lighting range designed for homes in off-grid rural and semi-urban communities. Philips LifeLight Home is a solar-powered LED lighting system with two pendant luminaires and a USB port for phone charging that is connected to a solar panel. The luminaires are able to reportedly provide up to 40 hours of safer, healthier lighting than that provided by kerosene or candles. The range includes two additional models, Philips LifeLight and Philips LifeLight Plus solar-powered lanterns. All three products were developed by the Nairobi based Philips Africa Innovation Hub, a center for developing innovations 'in Africa-for Africa' in the areas of healthcare, lighting and healthy living. First launched in Kenya in November 2014, Philips LifeLight will now be rolled out across Africa through 2015.

  • Azuri Technologies launches new-gen solar home system
    Azuri has announced the launch of its new generation solar home systems with intelligent energy provision. Quad is Azuri's latest generation of PayGo solar home systems, featuring HomeSmart, an adaptive control system that optimizes output according to the user's energy usage patterns.

    The new Quad product family is digitally controlled throughout, including full digital switching, allowing all outputs to be controlled from the central Azuri home unit. The entry-level product features a 10 watt solar panel and long life Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, with high quality European LED technology to light a whole rural household for 8 hours per night, and a USB port for phone mobile charging. Read More.

  • Lighting Global's new policy on product packaging
    The Lighting Global team released a new policy that presents requirements and guidelines for performance reporting on product packaging. According to the new policy, all products that meet the Quality assurance Standards need to display the following key elements:
    - Light output (or brightness) in lumens
    - Daily solar runtime in hours per day
    - A qualitative description of the impact of mobile phone charging on product performance, such as "mobile phone charging can reduce the daily runtime of the lights"
    - Basic warranty information

    More details and the complete policy are available on the Lighting Global website.

  • UGE's $4 million contract to take solar into retail
    Spanning a variety of sites that include retail showrooms, warehouses, distribution sites, and offices, UGE International will provide solar energy systems to a major retail chain, which will significantly reduce energy costs and operating expenses. The contract, valued at more than $4 million, is expected to be fulfilled over the next 12 to 15 months.


  • GVEP supports women entrepreneurs in Rwanda
    The Global Village Energy Partnership GVEP is currently supporting 83 women entrepreneurs in Rwanda using solar solutions to boost their businesses' productivity. Some of them started their business by using car batteries for power, but made the switch to solar after GVEP's intervention. These solutions have improved the lives of these women entrepreneurs, who now generate enough income to meet their families' needs. Read more here.

  • Smart Hydro Power to enter agricultural market in Latin America
    Smart Hydro Power GmbH, through a partnership with the Colombian company Enera SAS and the support of the German Energy Agency is stepping into the agricultural market in Latin America this year. The project chosen for this market entry is located in the region of Neiva, in Colombia, where a renewable energy hybrid system will replace diesel irrigation pumps. The 4 kW SMART Hybrid System consists of a hydrokinetic turbine, photovoltaic panels and a diesel generator. These three sources complement each other using sophisticated control systems that ensure stable electricity generation.

  • Kamworks' new end-user financing options
    Kamworks in Cambodia now offers a wide range of financing opportunities where customers can take a loan through Kamworks' partners, such as Kiva and microfinance institution VisionFund. They can also rent solar home systems using Kamworks' pay-as-you-go solution, implemented with the support of local mobile payment provider WING.

  • ClimateCare wins Carbon Finance transaction of the year
    ClimateCare received the Environmental Finance's Carbon Finance Transaction of the Year award for a project that is kick-starting a new market for clean burning ethanol cookers that save lives and help tackle climate change. The award acknowledges CimateCare's pioneering Revolving Fund model, something ClimateCare believes will act as a blue print for financing sustainable development projects around the world.

Featured Member

CLEAN: Growing the decentralized clean energy sector in India and the wider region

clean logoThe Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) seeks to be a unifying entity with a clear mandate to support and grow the decentralized clean energy sector in India. Over time CLEAN aims to not only become the go-to entity for decentralized clean energy sector in India, but a go-to point for members of the sector regionally.

Following extensive discussions around the creation of an enabling national network in India that can address and voice the needs of practitioners, an alliance comprising 12 key founding signatories, energy practitioners, research organizations, existing networks and facilitators, came together to establish CLEAN, which was officially launched on April 8, 2015.

CLEAN aims to address four challenges in the decentralized clean energy sector in India – issues around the policy and regulatory environment, limited financial access for both end users and enterprises, the need for skilled capacity across the sector, and technology standardization for clean energy products and services.

CLEAN will provide the following core services to social enterprises and other organizations in the decentralized clean energy sector in India:

· Facilitate critical information, learning and networking opportunities for its membership and the wider sector.

· Support innovative technology while developing universal quality and certification standards.

· Provide guidelines for skills, training and capacity building across the ecosystem.

· Engage with policy makers at all levels of government.

· Increase access to finance for practitioners and consumers alike.

CLEAN will expand its membership to represent a wide spectrum of social enterprises across a range of technologies and scales of operation – from those specializing in the sale of household renewable energy systems to enterprises that focus on the installation of community-level mini-grids.

For more information, visit CLEAN's website and follow @thecleannetwork on Twitter. You can also e-mail Ashis Kumar Sahu, CEO, CLEAN: 

Funding Opportunities

EEP seeks proposals on poverty reduction

The Energy and Environment Partnership Programme with Southern and East Africa (EEP) is seeking proposals that contribute to the reduction of poverty by promoting inclusive and job-creating green economies and by improving energy security. To apply visit the EEP website.

Toyota Foundation's international grant program 2015

The Toyota Foundation supports projects focusing on challenges and issues shared among Japan and other Asian countries. The 2015 call for proposals includes "Forum Grants" to continue support for projects initiated in 2013/2014, including in the subject areas of renewable energy for communities, and consensus-building on local environmental issues. Eligible countries are Brunei, Cambodia, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam. The application period is April 13, 2015 through June 12, 2015. Apply here.


Energy Efficiency proposals from Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the EU programme for research and innovation. Its energy efficiency call for proposals builds on the experience of the previous Intelligent Energy Europe Programme. The energy efficiency call supports the implementation of the EU's energy and climate policies. It covers the following areas, including topics covering all sustainable energy fields: buildings & consumers; heating & cooling; industry & products; and finance for sustainable energy. More information is available here, with materials from the Infoday that took place in December 2014 here. In particular, funding is available for proposals addressing "Finance for sustainable energy", with details available here. Hardware investments cannot be directly funded. The deadline for applications is June 4, 2015. For more information the relevant H2020 Energy National Contact Point can be contacted here.



"Financing Sustainable Energy for All", May 18-21, 2015, UN Headquarters, New York, USA

May 2015 will mark almost a year since the First Annual Sustainable Energy for All Forum, a landmark event that officially launched the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024, as declared by the UN General Assembly including a special focus for the first two years on Women, Children and Health. The inaugural Forum in 2014 brought together nearly 1,000 participants from government, international organizations, business and civil society.

This year's Forum will also include a new Global Sustainable Energy for All Commitment Platform. Importantly, the Forum will also feature the first ever Global Energy Ministerial Dialogue at the United Nations, in order to reaffirm the Rio+20 determination "to act to make sustainable energy for all a reality", and a high level Advisory Board meeting. The Forum will include a range of solution-oriented multi-stakeholder sessions for SE4ALL partners from all over the world. The Forum will also offer new approaches to track progress towards 2030 based on the 2nd biennial Sustainable Energy for All Global Tracking Framework. Overall, the 2nd annual United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum will:

Report and assess progress on the Sustainable Energy for All initiative;Inspire actions and solutions by sharing knowledge, innovation and success stories across the world;Present ideas and mechanisms to catalyze finance at the scale required to achieve Sustainable Energy for All;Grow the broader movement of global stakeholders to advance the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All.

To learn more and register for the Forum, go to: 
Sustainable Energy For All Investor Forum
April 30 - May 1, 2015, Kathmandu, Nepal
The Government of Nepal through the Alternative Energy Promotion Center (AEPC) and the Asian Development Bank's Energy for All Partnership is organizing a two-day workshop and investor forum on April 30 and May 1, 2015 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The theme is Renewable Energy (RE) Financing. The event is a regional Sustainable Energy for All forum.

Powering Africa: Mozambique 2015
May 7-8, 2015, Maputo, Mozambique.

EUBCE 2015: 23rd European Biomass conference and exhibition
June 1-4, Vienna, Austria.

World Economic Forum on Africa 2015
June 3-5, 2015, Cape Town, South Africa.

BASE III International Forum
June 8-10, 2015, Mexico.

Vienna Energy Forum
June 18-20, 2015, Vienna, Austria

Monthly News Clips

The Rockefeller Foundation committed USD 75 million (about Rs 468 crore) for financing an initiative to provide electricity to 1,000 villages through mini-grids.
Pakistan's northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province plans to supply solar power to 5,800 off-grid households in 200 villages, promoting clean energy amid grid electricity shortages.

IKEA: The Flat-Pack, Solar Powered 'Better Shelter' - Sun Connect
The masters of flat-pack design, IKEA, have developed solar powered emergency accommodation for refugees.

The good, the bad and the meaningful – measuring what matters in the Energy SDG - CAFOD
This week's The Economist bemoans the list of potential Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets under discussion at the UN as "sprawling and misconceived"....When it comes to the Energy SDG (SDG 7), the goal and targets appear to enjoy considerable support.

New Energy Access Reports

Increasing private capital investment into energy access: The case for mini-grid pooling facilities, UNEP
Mini-grids are viewed as one of the key elements in securing universal energy access in the developing world. However, current levels of investment into renewable decentralized energy are insufficient to reach the development goals identified by initiatives such as the UN's Sustainable Energy for All. In order to reach such levels of deployment, new models of financing need to be designed. In this report, UNEP provides a conceptual framework for the development of a private sector facility to pool and cross-collateralize diverse capital to support international mini-grid portfolios.

Decentralized energy systems for clean electricity access, Peter Alstone, Dimitry Gershenson, Danile M Kammen, NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP
Innovative approaches are needed to address the needs of the 1.3 billion people lacking electricity, while simultaneously transitioning to a decarbonized energy system. With particular focus on the energy needs of the underserved, the authors present an analytic and conceptual framework that clarifies the heterogeneous continuum of centralized on-grid electricity, autonomous mini- or community grids, and distributed individual energy services.

Sharing the load: Public and Private Sector Roles in Financing Pro-Poor Energy Access, IIED
This report from the International Institute for Energy and Development provides an overview of the innovations and challenges in financing pro-poor energy access projects. It argues that donors, governments and businesses should be more innovative in bringing together the private and public sectors for financing pro-poor energy access projects. The publication also includes case studies to demonstrate how the public and private sectors can work together to reach the low income population segment.

A Study of Rural Electrification Infrastructure in India, Pradeepta Kumar Samanta
India has approximately 400 million people with no access to electricity, a majority of whom live in the rural areas. One of the key reasons for this is that such rural population resides in areas where geographical distribution combined with terrain and low purchasing power of consumers creates hurdles in providing uninterrupted electricity supply.

Swaziland Renewables Readiness Assessment, IRENA

Developing Swaziland's vast renewable energy resources would provide substantial socio-economic benefits for its population, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Accelerating Access to Energy Report, Shell Foundation
Shell Foundation's 'Accelerating Access to Energy' analyzes common features of viable solutions found to improve energy access at global scale and learnings from the Foundation's past successes and failures.

New Practitioner Network Members

The Practitioner Network now has over 2,000 members. Welcome to the following: