Newsletter - February 2015
Towards Achieving Universal Energy Access by 2030

Richenda's Message

Dear Friends,

This month saw our team on the ground in Tanzania with over 100 participants at a workshop focused on the Sustainable Energy For All country action agenda development process in Tanzania. The event, co-organized by UN Foundation's Energy Access Practitioner Network and WWF, provided a valuable platform for engagement by the Minister of Energy in Tanzania along with an array of clean energy entrepreneurs and civil society organizations. The workshop summary report is being shared with the government as well as the SE4ALL team, and will soon be available on our website at The Government of Tanzania subsequently announced a "One Million Solar Homes" partnership with practitioner network member Off:Grid Electric, and multilateral investors to bring solar power to a million families in Tanzania by 2017.

On another front, we recently hosted here in Washington, DC a workshop around quality assurance in bulk purchasing for small scale renewable energy solutions applicable in humanitarian emergency settings. We partnered with the IFC, the Global Off-grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), the Safe Access to Fuel and Energy initiative (SAFE) and UNHCR for this event. Several practitioner network members have been on the front lines in various disaster relief efforts over the years ranging from the 2010 earthquake in Haiti to the response to 2013's typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Their roles have included manufacturing, procuring and deploying a range of solar products at short notice when supply chains, and distribution channels may be disrupted. What was heartening was to hear from participants the ways in which the humanitarian relief sector is embracing quality standards developed by groups like IFC's Lighting Global and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and increasingly recognizing the valuable role of solar lighting applications in emergency contexts.

If you haven't yet registered for the second Sustainable Energy for All Forum at the UN in New York May 17-21, please do so at 



Warm Regards,
richenda sign 2

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

Member Announcements


  • Skynotch Energy wins 2015 green pioneer accelerator Kenya award
    Skynotch Energy was among 11 Kenyan enterprises selected by the Green Pioneer Accelerator to join its 2015 program. The Green Pioneer Accelerator is a comprehensive business accelerator seeking to support early stage enterprises contributing innovative solutions to environmental issues such as climate change, loss of biodiversity and soil degradation. Skynotch Energy, which runs a mini-hydro power generation plant, and works with small dealers to provide last-mile distribution for clean energy solutions, was selected after a rigorous multi-phase selection process based on the viability of its business model, the strength of its team, and its potential to solve challenges through innovative products and creative solutions. The 16-week accelerator programs are being offered by Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos to help take the selected businesses from 'market proof' to 'ready for investment'. Read More.

  • Greenlight Planet raises $10 million for India and Southeast Asia distribution
    Solar energy product company Greenlight Planet has raised $10 million in funding led by Fidelity Growth Partners India to support its distribution expansion efforts in India and Southeast Asia. The deal, which follows a $4 million Series A round in 2012 led by global private equity firm Bamboo Finance, also saw participation from Deutsche Bank and Seattle-based impact investing firm Global Partnerships. The funds will be used mainly for growing the distribution of the company's solar products, as well as further product research. Read more.

  • Fenix International Raises $12.6 Million in working capital finance
    Fenix International, a renewable energy company working in emerging markets, announced that it has closed $12.6 million in Series B financing. Fenix International partners with global telecom companies such as MTN, Orange and Vodafone to supply mobile-enabled solar systems to off-grid African communities. Fenix aims to enhance quality of life for people who lack access to energy, communications, or the credit necessary to make such purchases.

  • ONergy: Looking back on Impact
    ONergy estimates that it has reached 200,000 people since 2010 through its range of solar solutions, registering annual growth of over 200%. The company developed innovative products in plug and play solar home lighting systems and its inONvation incubator has launched two major projects, ONergizing agriculture and ONergizing education. In 2014 ONergy become a leading player in West Bengal, Odisha & Jharkhand, serving the remotest and most difficult regions of the country. ONergy also launched the PowerBox last year as part of its series of 'Affordable and Smart Mini Solar Home Lighting Systems'.

  • Fosera Expands Operations in Africa with Third Assembly Line in Kenya
    German manufacturer of solar lighting products Fosera has opened a product assembly line in Kenya in partnership with a local manufacturer of solar panels, Ubbink East Africa. This is Fosera's third assembly line for modern off-grid solar lighting products in Africa, after Mozambique and Ethiopia.

    • Bridge capital for Power: On
      Power: On has raised €50,000 for a project launch to deliver energy services in a rural community of 3,000 people in Benin. These funds are not sufficient to power the full community, so Power: On is now seeking bridge capital in order to meet all the energy needs of the village. Power:On designs and operates tailor-made, efficient, hybrid photovoltaic-diesel minigrids, tapping into local and renewable resources, and facilitating economic development. Using information and mobile technologies Power: On creates a user experience that makes its systems optimal, smart and easy to manage.

    • Niwa Partners with Sun Transfer to Assemble Solar Products in Ethiopia
      Niwa and SunTransfer have partnered to set up a company that will assemble solar products in Ethiopia. The new venture – STM Solar Technologies Manufacturing S.C. – will produce solar lanterns and modular solar home lighting kits. Read more.

    • Energy poverty illustrated
      EnAct has launched an expanded website that highlights the aims and approach of their visual project, while offering brief overviews of different types of energy poverty:

Featured Member

KENYA CLIMATE INNOVATION CENTER (KCIC): Calling Kenya's Energy and Climate Innovators

kcic logoThe Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) offers services to a growing network of climate innovators based or operating in Kenya. KCIC provides incubation and capacity building services, access to information, an enabling ecosystem, and access to finance for ventures that are involved in agribusiness, water and sanitation and renewable energy.

A KCIC supported entrepreneur intalls solar panelsCocatech Enterprises, a KCIC member, specializes in solar energy installations and products including solar lamps, solar laptop chargers and solar home systems. Photo: Cocatech.

Working together with the Kenyan private sector, KCIC is looking for opportunities to expand the country's agriculture, energy and water infrastructure to serve the needs of the growing population, while addressing the effects of climate change and improving living standards. According to KCIC's CEO Edward Mungai, "The question is no longer, is climate change happening? But rather, what do we do about it?"

Keekonyoike Slaughterhouse is bottling biogasKeekanyokie, a company working with KCIC, packages biogas from slaughterhouse waste in 6-kg cylinders. Photo: Keekonyokie.

KCIC aims to support a mix of economic, environmental and social outcomes, including job creation, reduction of carbon emissions, greater climate resiliency, access to clean energy, safer drinking water, better sanitation, strengthened technology transfer and enhanced local innovation capacity. KCIC currently supports 108 clean technology start-ups, 64 of them in renewable energy, including solar, biogas, briquettes, clean cook stoves and bio-ethanol.

KCIC's work in renewable energy resonates with the goals of Sustainable Energy for All. The renewable energy start-ups supported by KCIC work towards SE4ALL's energy access and efficiency goals - universal access to modern energy services and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. It helps to deploy a range of different sustainable energy products and distribution models to help those at the base-of-the-pyramid access energy using pico-solar, solar photovoltaics, small hydro and clean energy mini-grids.

KCIC remains committed to helping clean technology start-ups access capital to expand their operations. In September 2014, KCIC, in partnership with World Bank–InfoDev and Crowdfund Capital Advisors, began the first ever crowdfunding pilot for clean technology entrepreneurs in East Africa. Six entrepreneurs who ranked highest in the crowdfunding pitching competition went through training and mentoring for four months. Three of them have now launched their own crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo: #WandaRevolution, #BriquetteEnergyDrive, #LightingupKenya.

To learn more about KCICI, contact: Ernest Chitechi, Outreach and Partnerships Manager at; Phone: (+254) 703 034 701 / 703 034 704 / 703 034 000

Funding Opportunities

Request for Information: Off-grid clean energy solutions for Benin

The Government of the United States, through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), is developing a $300 million compact with the Government of Benin (GOB) focused on Benin's electrical power sector. Only one-third of Benin's population of ten million has access to electrical power. To meet this energy challenge, concepts to address one of the following potential focus areas are sought: Critical public infrastructure, Community and commune-level electricity generation and distribution, Household-level generation and storage, Energy efficiency measures.

Awards will be in the form of a matching cash grant to a project sponsor who will provide at least half of the total project cost in cash or through in-kind services. Organizations should provide the information requested by March 6, 2015. To learn more and respond, contact:

R&D project support from Innovate UK

Innovate UK supports R&D projects by Indian and UK businesses. Funding is available to help UK and Indian businesses work together to address challenges in any of the following areas: clean energy, affordable healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and use of Information & Communication Technologies (ICT). The program is open to businesses and research and academic institutions based in the UK or India. Projects must demonstrate economic and societal benefits for underserved populations in India. Applications close April 15, 2015.


Global Innovation Fund call for applications

The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) invites applications from social enterprises, for-profit firms, non-profit organizations, researchers, and government agencies that offer breakthrough solutions to global development challenges. GIF will offer grants, loans, and equity investments ranging from £30,000 to £10,000,000 at three different stages of a project: pilot, test and transition, and scaling up. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Learn more here.


Private Financing Advisory Network for Asia call for proposals

The USAID regional Private Financing Advisory Network for Asia (PFAN-Asia) is a five-year regional program that aims to accelerate private sector investment in clean energy projects and greenhouse gas emission reductions, open to businesses based in Southeast Asia and South Asia. It provides investment readiness assessments, mentoring services, match-making to investors, and tipping point assistance.
PFAN-Asia is looking for projects and companies that need financing for developing renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean transport related businesses in any of the following 12 countries: Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Submit applications – including a business plan or project executive summary – in electronic format to For more information, watch this video.


Applications now open for the Zayed Future Energy Prize 2016

Submissions and nominations are open for the 2016 Zayed Future Energy Prize, an annual US$4 million award that recognizes individuals, organizations and schools for advancing solutions that will meet the challenges of climate change, energy security and the environment. Apply for the 2016 Prize in the categories of Large Corporation, Small and Medium Enterprise, Non-Profit Organization and Global High Schools as well as nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award. 



 The International Invest'€lec Salon
Yaoundé, Cameroon, March 10-13, 2015

International ARE Energy Access Workshop,
March 5, 2015, Madrid, Spain

4th Annual Powering Africa meeting
Maputo, May 7-8, 2015

Solar Energy East Africa
March 10-11, 2015, Nairobi, Kenya

Solar Energy West Africa
April 21- 22, 2015, Accra, Ghana

Monthly News Clips

The Tanzanian national government has announced its One Million Solar Homes initiative aimed at providing a million Tanzanian homes with access to reliable solar electricity by the end of 2017.

Africa's new breed of solar energy entrepreneurs - BBC
A new breed of entrepreneurs bring solar power to millions of Africans who don't have access to electricity.

What Fenix International's Investment Says About Solar Beyond The Grid In 2015 - Sierra Club
We're only one month into 2015 and it already looks like it'll be a wild ride when it comes to investment in solar energy beyond the grid.

Solar-Powered Tent Keeps Food Fresh Without a Fridge - EcoWatch
In a bid to provide round-the-clock health care at all hospitals in Kashmir, the Indian government recently began installing solar power plants in hospitals that lack an uninterrupted power supply.

Cameroon to see a 72-MW solar PV facility – Alternative Energy-Africa
The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) to support the development of a 72-MW Solar Photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Cameroon.

New Energy Access Reports

High Impact Opportunity on Clean Energy Mini-grids, SE4ALL
 The report summarizes the HIO's achievements and progress to date, suggests priorities for the HIO in the next six months, and outlines HIO members' own plans relevant to the objectives of the HIO in the next six months. The full report is available here.

Annual Report 2014, ESMAP & ASTAE
The annual report takes a comprehensive look at ESMAP's programs, activities and results for Fiscal Year 2014. It highlights ESMAP's key program areas such as clean energy, energy access, energy efficient cities, and energy assessments and strategies with sections on special initiatives such as the SIDS DOCK Support Program for small island developing states; the Africa Renewable Energy and Access Program (AFREA); Gender and Social Inclusion in the Energy Sector; and Results-Based Approaches to Energy Sector Development.

Product evaluation for solar lanterns in Uganda, MIT
Researchers of the Comprehensive Initiative on Technology Evaluation (CITE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted over 300 interviews to evaluate 11 types of solar lanterns using a 3-S framework: Suitability, Scalability, Sustainability.

Policy makers guide to off-grid lighting , UNEP
Three publications have been put together by UNEP, ECREEE, GOGLA and the German government (BMZ) to help policy-makers navigate the off-grid lighting policy process. The publications specifically focus on Africa and reveal several critical impacts of fuel-based lighting in developing country contexts, analyze the role of market transformation on job creation in West Africa and synthesize and review existing information on the presence of, and interplay between, energy subsidies and off-grid lighting.

New Practitioner Network Members

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

Battery & Solar Power Service Center / (Tanzania)

BuffaloGrid / (London)

Capstone Solutions / (United States)

cKinetics / (India)

Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) / (The Netherlands)

CSOLAR / (Sweden)

Innov8tive EnerG / (South Africa)

Let There Light International / (United States)

PTL Solar FZ LLC / (United Arab Emirates)

Rexel Foundation / (France)

Solo Energy / (United States)

Songa Energy, LLC / United States

UNFCCC Regional Collaboration Centre / (Germany)

Village Energy Ltd. / (Kenya)

WEET Enterprises Ltd. / (Kenya)

Zolair Energy / (Canada)