News

Member Highlights – February 2017

2017 Global Cleantech 100 Announced

The 8th edition of the Global Cleantech 100 was collated by combining proprietary Cleantech Group research data with over 9,000 nominations and specific input from an expert panel. These companies represent the most innovative and promising ideas in clean technology and that are best positioned to solve tomorrow’s challenges.

The list includes Practitioner Network members and partners Advanced Microgrid Solutions, BBOXX, M-KOPA Solar, Mobisol, NexSteppe, Off-Grid Electric, SunFire and Waka Waka Light, among others.


Azuri launches PayGo solar in Nigeria, offers solar TVs in Kenya

UK off-grid solar company Azuri Technologies has launched a pay-as-you-go (PayGo) solar home system partnership with Nigeria’s Delta Power Holding (NDPHC). The NDPHC is a government-funded initiative formed to add new capacity to the country’s grid. Azuri’s recent partnership with the NDPHC emphasizes crucial government input into seeking off-grid solutions, and its commitment to renewable energy technology development.

The Nigerian government has implemented an ambitious renewable energy policy that aims to increase energy production from clean energy sources up from 13% in 2015 to 23% in 2025 and 36% in 2030. Azuri will be distributing its residential solar systems that include four light bulbs for up to eight hours of lighting, a radio and USB port, across the country. Customers pay for the service via mobile money for 36 months after which the customer owns the unit outright. The initial deployment goal of solar power to 20,000 households is expected to create 500 direct jobs and 5,000 indirect jobs. Following this launch, NDPHC plans to start a phased rollout in northern Nigeria, followed by a nationwide deployment, targeting the 70 million Nigerians living in off-grid communities with clean, sustainable and reliable solar home solutions.

Azuri has also formed an alliance with pay TV provider Zuku in Kenya – the integrated solution includes a satellite dish, a decoder and solar power, plus the Zuku Smart+ entertainment package which gives the user 48 TV and 21 radio channels, so users know in advance what channels they are able to get via solar TV.

Priced at Kshs 149 ($1.50) per day, where payments can be made for as little as a week, users can get a complete home power package with up to 5 hours of normal TV viewing per day, four room lights, mobile phone charging and a rechargeable portable radio. Customers pay the top-up rate via mobile money, allowing them to use the system as much as they want for the credit period. After as little as two years of payments, customers will own the equipment and continue to pay only for the satellite service. The service is initially available in selected regions of Central Kenya and will be rolled out progressively nationwide in 2017.

Only launched in December last year, this package has so far sold in the hundreds, and it is the first of what is designed to become a family of products with different content and partnerships and even larger TVs. Azuri Technologies sells its other solar products in 12 countries including Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Togo, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Angola.


Fenix International reaches 100 thousand customers in Uganda with off-grid solar

Fenix International, a pay-to-own solar system provider, has doubled its off-grid customer base in just 12 months of operation. Reaching 100,000 customers in Uganda this month, the company has surpassed this milestone within just a few years of its inception in 2014.

Fenix’s flagship solar system ReadyPay Power has been installed in many homes in Uganda; where more than 80% of people lack access to electricity, and has displaced 200,000 kerosene lamps with its product. Fenix adopts a pay-to-own payment plan for its product, which is a popular business model in Sub Saharan Africa. Under the company’s current plan, customers can pay just US$0.15 per day for the entry level product, with 36 months to complete payment for the entry level US$160 solar home system; which constitutes what is claimed to be the most affordable pay-to-own residential system in Uganda.

Hitting the 100,000 customer milestone brings the total of solar leases deployed by Fenix to more than US$20 million.


BBOXX secures unique financing facility to support the Rwandan government’s off-grid electrification goals

BBOXX has successfully closed a debt facility equivalent to US$2 million in local currency with Atlas Mara’s Rwandan entity, Banque Populaire du Rwanda (BPR). The deal is the first of its kind in the industry and adds additional prowess to BBOXX’s unique fundraising abilities; in late 2015, the company also became the first to securitize an off-grid solar home portfolio.

BBOXX has pioneered a distributed energy platform with a data-driven technology to deliver off-grid energy to rural households. Since 2010, BBOXX has provided off-grid electricity to more than 500,000 people in 35 countries around the world. This latest deal will enable the company to grow its operations in Rwanda, where it has already deployed 20,000 systems, and jobs to over 300 Rwandans as the largest and most sophisticated off-grid company in the country. This marks not just the beginning of BBOXX’s relationship with the local BPR but also accelerates the Government of Rwanda’s vision of 40% off-grid household energy access by 2018. BBOXX is poised to inject another $200 million to realize that vision within the mentioned timeframe.

It is anticipated that this latest financing will increase confidence in the sector, showing that the rural asset class is bankable, and that this financing structure is a viable means to attract the billions of dollars needed to serve the off-grid masses. Progress has already been made with the recently announced pilot between ENGIE, one of the world’s largest private energy companies, and BBOXX bringing off-grid solar electrification to Cameroon.


Village Infrastructure Angels Selected as Finalist for the Fire Awards

Solar Agro-processing Power Stations, an initiative led by Village Infrastructure Angels (VIA) to improve living standards in rural villages by delivering solar solutions tailored to local needs, was selected as one of the four finalists of the Fire Awards, which aim to accelerate powerful, early-stage pilots and businesses that can unlock finance for clean energy and green growth.

The four finalists to pitch their financial innovations for the acceleration of green growth at the annual Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in April 2017. The Fire Awards will pair each finalist with a coach to help them prepare for their pitch to an audience of over 1,000 investors and leaders at the BNEF Summit, where the audience will vote for 2 winners. Winners will receive support from a working group of experts to achieve the next steps in expanding their model and impact.


WISIONS of Sustainability promotes the long-term use of micro-hydro systems in Nepal

One of WISIONS’ Sustainable Energy Project Support (SEPS) projects in Nepal aimed to ensure the sustained operation of existing micro-hydro plants through rehabilitation, optimization, increased financial stability, capacity-building and management support: Practical Action has now completed the project activities and has created an informative video overview.
Practical Action’s approach promotes the long-term use of certain existing MHPs via a holistic approach called Participatory Market System Development (PMSD), emphasizing stakeholder participation in creating sustainable rural enterprises and empowering marginalized market actors. Five existing micro-hydro projects (three in Nepal and two in Odisha state, India), ranging from 14kW to 100 kW in capacity, saw their MHPs serviced and refurbished. Moreover, additional demand for power was created by establishing 21 new enterprises, from mills for rice and wheat to construction businesses.

Read the full project summary here: Promoting the Long-Term Use of Micro-Hydro Systems by Providing Energy to Rural Enterprises in Nepal and India. Watch Practical Action’s video summary here.


Interview with SunFarmer on post-earthquake Nepal

Avishek Malla, Director of Engineering and Operations for SunFarmer Nepal, a subsidiary of SunFarmer International, was interviewed last month on how solar technologies offer hope in post-disaster Nepal. Read the interview here.


QINOUS plans solar/diesel powered micro-grid in Indonesia with Canopy Power

Misool Eco Resort, a resort and conservation center located in remote southern Raja Ampat, Indonesia, has awarded an implementation project contract to Singapore-based renewable energy micro-grid service provider Canopy Power, and Berlin-based smart energy storage provider, Practitioner Network member QINOUS.

The resort’s electrical supply will be based on a 125 kW array of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and diesel generators; which will be one of the largest hybrid micro-grids in Raja Ampat area. A Lithium-ion energy storage system will be used to store excess solar power for night-time use or in periods of low sunshine. This will reduce annual diesel consumption by 55% by hybridizing the existing diesel micro-grid with solar photovoltaics (PV) and Li-ion batteries.


Angaza Design releases new Blog

Practitioner Network member Angaza Design has just launched its new blog where the company is rolling out an in-depth series on pay-as-you-go keycodes. Visit the blog website to learn more.


Jaan Pakistan wins the Shell Tameer Award

Shell Tameer, the LiveWIRE programme in Pakistan, has presented awards to four of its most outstanding businesses based on criteria including: the viability of their business; their entrepreneurial acumen; having a sustainable business model; and their overall impact on society. Four winners each received PKR 400,000 (US $3,750) to recognize the innovation and impact of their start-ups in one of four categories: Bright Energy Ideas, to identify entrepreneurs that can transform the future of energy; Empowering Women, to showcase entrepreneurs who deliver female empowerment; Sustainable Social Change, to reward entrepreneurs who are ambassadors for social change; and Technological Innovation, to celebrate innovators using tech solutions to change the way things are done.

The winner of the Bright Energy Ideas category is Practitioner Network member Khizr Imran Tajammul, whose business, Jaan Pakistan, produces affordable clean energy cooking stoves for use in low-income communities across Pakistan. Jaan Pakistan’s cooking stoves reduce harmful emissions by 80% and enhance combustion efficiencies by 60%, thereby delivering significant fuel savings.

The company is currently running a pilot program in Bedian Village near Lahore. The pilot is designed to help them understand domestic energy needs and culinary behaviors across off-grid communities within Punjab province. This will enable the identification of a suitable price point; test the efficacy of the community mobilization model; and monitor the socio-economic impact of clean cooking. To better understand clean cooking and its changing impact across varying geographies, Jaan Pakistan is expanding its pilot program to four new off-grid villages across Pakistan.