Member Highlights – June 2016

Founder & CEO of Global Cycle Solutions wins the 2016 C3E International Award

Jodie Wu, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Global Cycle Solutions (GCS), a company focused on providing access to transformative technologies through a last-mile distribution network of over 200 village entrepreneurs, was awarded the International Award as part of the 2016 Clean Energy, Education and Empowerment Awards. GCS is setting a new “global community standard” in Tanzania, providing products and a level of service that rivals Western markets, as well as creating tremendous opportunities for cost savings and income generation for its customers.

The annual C3E Awards program by the Clean Energy Ministerial recognizes the outstanding achievements of mid-career women working to advance clean energy. Eight remarkable women are recognized for their work at the C3E Symposium each year. Previous winners have included Practitioner Network members Dr. Laura Stachel, Co-Founder and Executive Director, We Care Solar; Anya Cherneff, Executive Director, Empower Generation; Erica Mackie, Co-founder and CEO, GRID Alternatives; Katherine Lucey, Chief Executive Officer, Solar Sister; and Erica Mackey, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer, Off Grid Electric.

 EarthSpark International celebrates first anniversary of Haiti micro-grid

June 1 marked the first anniversary of the inauguration of EarthSpark International’s first smart, solar-powered microgrid in Haiti. EarthSpark has increased its grid to 450 customers, with another 20 in line to be connected in the coming weeks. Along the way, they have collected a lot of data: by buying the grid’s clean electricity, homes and businesses are saving 50-80% compared to what they used to spend for their energy in the form of kerosene lighting and diesel generators. Aside from saving on their energy costs, many of the customers are starting businesses with their new electricity. EarthSpark has also worked with larger-load customers to help ensure their appliances work on the micro-grid, while at the same time protecting the grid itself to ensure its sustainability. EarthSpark has also helped form an Energy Committee from different segments of the community which will work to understand customer needs and get out the message on difficult subjects such as theft – a model which they hope to replicate in other towns.

SES and SolarKiosk bring power and internet to Jordanian Refugee Camp

SES and Practitioner Network member SolarKiosk announced that they are pioneering what they consider a first-of-its-kind “Connected Solar School” to deliver electricity, educational tools, and broadband internet connectivity to an education center run by UNICEF and Relief International within the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.

The Zaatari refugee camp is currently hosting more than 80,000 refugees, with about 25,000 children of school-going age.  The “Connected Solar School” will utilize solar energy provided by SolarKiosk’s E-HUBB technology to deliver broadband connectivity enabled by SES’s Astra Connect broadband platform, which in turn enables teachers to use quality e-learning materials sponsored by UNICEF.

SolarNow receives US$2 million loan to accelerate distribution of Solar Home Systems in Uganda

SolarNow, a solar distributor in Uganda, has announced it has received a loan of US$2 million from SunFunder, a solar energy finance business, both Practitioner Network members. The funds will be used to accelerate distribution of solar home systems in Uganda.

In 2013, SunFunder, through its Structured Asset Finance Instrument (SAFI), began lending to SolarNow with small, crowdfunded inventory loans through which it established a repayment track record. This helped SunFunder to unlock capital from accredited investors for larger and longer-term loans needed to match SolarNow’s growing working capital needs.

In 2015, SunFunder extended facilities totaling over US$800,000 of loans to SolarNow. Through its network of 36 branches in Uganda and by extending appropriate credit to their customers for up to 24 months, SolarNow makes solar accessible and affordable for rural, low-income households and businesses, and the funds will be used to accelerate distribution of solar home systems in Uganda.

d.light shares recent impact data

d.light adopts a data-driven approach to measuring the impact of its products, estimating impact (including benefits to health, productivity and well-being) combined with sales data, customer feedback and ongoing evaluation of products in the field. As of April 30, d.light estimates having empowered 61 million lives with 117 GWh generated from solar, reaching 16 million school children with lighting for education, and leading to almost $5 billion saved in energy-related expenses, a true testament to the scaling potential of off-grid energy service companies.

ALER joins the Practitioner Network

ALER, a non-profit Association with the mission to promote renewable energy in Portuguese-speaking countries, has recently joined the Practitioner Network as a member. ALER aggregates common interests and works as a representative within governmental bodies and international institutions, representing the common voice of renewable energies in Portuguese-speaking countries. ALER has previously co-hosted a webinar with the Practitioner Network and Clean Energy Solutions Center to showcase the status of efforts to scale renewable energy in Mozambique.  Read its announcement about joining the Practitioner Network here.

GSMA’s M4D Utilities program yields case studies by Practitioner Network members

GSMA’s Mobile for Development (M4D) Utilities program runs an Innovation Fund for organisations that are implementing innovative business models leveraging mobile to improve and enhance access to energy, water and sanitation. To date, GSMA M4D have issued 34 grants, with the first phase of 13 grants having been completed with case studies on the lessons learned during these pilots. The case studies published to date in the energy sector, all featuring Practitioner Network members, are as follows:

Pay-as-you-go energy organizations

Fenix (Uganda)

Mobisol (Rwanda)

Kamworks (Cambodia)

Eco Energy Finance (Pakistan)

Community Power for Mobile

African Solar Designs: Trialling the Community Power for Mobile Model in Kenya

ENERGIA releases new issue of ENERGIA News and Empowerment Journeys

A new issue of ENERGIA News came out last month, focusing on the ENERGIA Gender and Energy Research Programme, funded by UK’s DFID, which aims to generate and analyze empirical evidence on the links between gender, energy and poverty, and to translate this evidence into recommendations for energy policy and practice. Research is currently being carried out in five areas:

  • Exploring factors that enhance and restrict women’s empowerment through electrification
  • Productive uses of energy in informal food preparation and processing sectors
  • RThe political economy of energy sector dynamics;
  • Gender and energy sector reform;
  • The role of the private sector in scaling up energy access.

Through its Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme, ENERGIA also works with entrepreneurs, mainly women, to help them become successful micro- and small business owners, energy service providers and leaders in their communities. To learn more, visit here to follow the journeys of ten women entrepreneurs.

Liter Of Light Campaign Targets Energy Poverty

Liter Of Light, an open-sourced movement, has launched a 30-day Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign to raise $27,000 in order to help provide ecologically sustainable illumination to people who have none. Liter of Light aims to provide ecologically sustainable and cost-free lighting based on plastic bottles filled with water for simple dwellings with thin roofs. In collaboration with Africa Investment For Development (AI4D), the campaign aims to bring light to the Ivory Coast project, with the funding obtained to be used to:

  • Buy the required materials to build the lighting systems
  • Finance human and material logistics
  • Install the lighting systems both in people’s homes and in the streets
  • Train the local community in order to guarantee the economic sustainability of their actions
  • Measure the impact of our installation and our trainings with the help and support of our local partners.

Powerspot presents its PowerJiko Water: the disruptive solution to generate electricity in emerging countries

PowerJiko Water, the thermoelectric generator manufactured by the Spanish company Powerspot that was developed based on the cooking stove called Jiko, has reached 223,000 requests in 29 Sub-Saharan African countries even before its official presentation in Power&Energy Africa 2016. Since 2015 the company has been collaborating with various NGOs in Africa and Asia – Kenya, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Cambodia, among others – and has so far received 256 requests for the distribution of its products in Africa.


ONergy lighting the way to women’s economic empowerment

ONergy, an Indian social enterprise, has developed a number of innovative energy solutions that not only address the dearth of electricity in the region but also light a path toward economic empowerment for women. To promote solar as a clean and reliable source of energy, the company is training women entrepreneurs in its products’ technology, usability and special features. By partnering with local grassroots organizations – microfinance institutions, NGOs and women’s self-help groups – the company is imparting product know-how while also enabling these women to serve as company distributors, providing them with both income and empowerment.

To date, ONergy has provided training to more than 2,000 women and aims to reach 50,000 in East & North East India within the next three years. The company has developed products for solar irrigation and micro cold storage for agriculture; low-cost solar computer systems for education; and solar micro-grids for community level usage. It has built an ecosystem that connects technology, finance and grassroots organizations to manage the needs, aspirations and resources of undeserved customers at the base of the economic pyramid. To date, ONergy has impacted 350,000 lives, and working with its microfinance and NGO partners, the company plans to brighten the lives of 1 million women in the next two years.

Let There Be Light International shares impact assessment of their work in Uganda

Let There Be Light International (LTBLI) and their Ugandan distribution partner, KACCAD, recently concluded a follow-up survey to assess the impact of LTBLI’s 2014-2015 solar light distribution programs. 802 Solar Light Recipients were interviewed by trained field officers, who collected qualitative and quantitative data about usage, satisfaction, and indicators of impact.

The report concluded that Let There Be Light International’s solar light distribution program is positively impacting thousands of vulnerable people in the Ugandan districts of Wakiso and Gomba. Key findings include: the enhancement of economic stability; the support of educational outcomes; the improvement of self-reported indicators of health and well-being; and the increased safety of recipients and their families. All recipients have reported using significantly less kerosene than before receiving a donated light, and most no longer use any kerosene for lighting. Solar light recipients reported using the money saved on lighting to meet other basic household needs, and many elderly recipients use their lights throughout the night to scare away potential thieves, vermin, and to avoid snake bites.