EAPN & the SEforALL Forum

“SparkMeter has found the EAPN to be a critical source for information on the energy access sector broadly, and on microgrids specifically.  The EAPN’s newsletter has provided us with insights on best practices for the sector, policy development, and funding opportunities for both SparkMeter and its customers.  We also benefit from EAPN’s knowledgeable staff, who have organized events in the DC area that help bring together stakeholders in the sector who otherwise do not have the chance to interact in person.  One major challenge in the energy access sector, and with microgrids specifically, is the dearth of information on the market in terms of companies, business models, revenues, and rates of electrification.  EAPN has made great strides to advance knowledge in the sector through formal means like surveys and reports, as well as through informal means like facilitating introductions.  We’re very grateful for EAPN’s contributions and appreciate their ongoing efforts to further access to electricity.”

– Daniel Schnitzer, CEO of SparkMeter

“I thank the UN Foundation inviting me to this year’s SE4ALL Forum in New York as a speaker on two of the panels. As a project developer with mini-grid connected solar PV plants already under construction/near commercial operation in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, it was heartening to actually see the immense priority and diverse work being “actually” done under the SE4ALL initiative. At the panel discussions, we were able to provide the Private Sector’s perspective on energy investments, sharing our 4 years experience on what are the “real” impediments to attracting private capital for such key development projects – as they mature and scale up beyond the pilot/feasibility stage.

I found the interaction positive and constructive as we challenged the assumptions that there is a lack of “bankable projects” or that there is a lack of “finance” which is seen as the bottle neck for rural/renewable energy projects. You will be pleased to know that we have continued the discussion well after the forum, with a few financiers and SMEs, and hope to help them shorten their timelines with our feedback from the field.  

The Forum gave us huge lift in credibility and visibility, especially when the European Commission announced $2.1 million debt financing for one of our mini-grid projects under the ElectriFI initiative, which I understand was actually launched at the SE4ALL forum only last year! We were able to have advanced discussions at the very senior level with financiers and other organizations on potentially scaling up/working together in the near future especially as we synergize experience and expertise amongst the different organizations under the SE4ALL initiative.

I look forward to attending the forum next year – and perhaps show case one of our mini-grid projects, as a testimony to the power of private-public sectors working together on such high impact investment opportunities.”

– Mayank Bhargava, CEO & Founding Partner, NextGen Solar

“The SE4All forum uniquely brought together entrepreneurs, financiers and policy makers in one place. I was able to build valuable new connections and re-connect with many friends and colleagues in the sector, including fellow Practitioner Network members. I really look forward to the next forum.”

– Xavier Hellgesen, CEO Off-Grid Electric

“The SEforAll forum provided a unique opportunity for DBL Partners and Off-Grid Electric to partner with both SEforALL and the UN Foundation on an “Energy Policy in Africa” roundtable that brought together industry experts and policy makers to discuss strategies for addressing barriers to market growth and enabling African nations to usher in a new century of clean energy.”

– Lisa Hagerman, Director of Programs, DBL Partners

“Attending the SE4ALL Forum allowed me to reconnect with previous and current contacts and catch up on how past projects have come out. It also allowed me to make inroads into exploring new opportunities to collaborate on energy access work with new potential partners and to meet a lot of contacts I’d only ever emailed with, face to face. It was interesting to hear about all the important and measurable research that has been done to analyze the impact of the work that I do and to see where I fit in, celebrate collective accomplishments and identify gaps I can help to fill. It was especially great to meet the team behind the Energy Access Practitioner’s Network in person and to participate in a panel discussing the results of their annual survey of their members. I’m grateful to EAPN for giving me and the rest of the practitioners a platform at SE4ALL to present the real work that is happening on the ground and help us develop a strong voice at forum’s such as this to guide best practices and examine the real issues practitioners struggle to overcome in their mission to achieve sustainable energy for all.”

– Anya Cherneff, Co-founder & Executive Director, Empower Generation