Member Highlights – May 2017

Practitioner Network members recognized as 2017 New Energy Pioneers by BNEF

A number of Practitioner Network members featured among the 10 innovations recognized as New Energy Pioneers this year, as Bloomberg New Energy Finance chose the winners from a record 170 applicants, which were judged on innovation in both technology and business model, momentum and their potential for global scale.

Among the winners honored at the New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit in New York are the following Practitioner Network members:

  • Envirofit, which develops smart, clean cook stoves to reduce fuel use, smoke and toxic emissions
  • SunCulture, which designs, manufactures, finances and distributes solar-powered irrigation solutions
  • SunFunder, which aggregates diversified portfolios of off-grid solar to help arrange debt capital
  • Sunna Design, which has installed off-grid solar public lighting systems in 40 countries, mainly in Africa
  • We Care Solar, which provides “Solar Suitcases” to power remote health centers.

 Azuri is named 2017 Gold Edison Award Winner

The Edison Awards has named Azuri’s HomeSmart™ home solar power solution its Gold Winner in Energy & Sustainability/Solar Solutions. Celebrating 30 years of honoring the best in innovation and excellence in the development of new products and services, the Edison Awards recognizes achievement and celebrates success by organizations from across the globe.

Azuri’s innovative HomeSmart™ brings artificial intelligence for the first time to small domestic solar home systems. While conventional systems work well in sunny conditions, they often shut off early on cloudy days because they run out of power. HomeSmart uses learning technology to monitor both climatic conditions and historical customer usage patterns to ensure a full night of light, even following cloudy days. This use of machine-learning marks a next step in addressing the needs of the 1.2 billion people that have no access to mains power.

For grid-connected customers, solar power is a way of saving money. For off-grid customers in developing countries, it is often the only access households have to electrical power for lighting, phone-charging, radio, TV and other essential devices. Without the grid as backup, customers rely solely on the stored power to provide services at night and if that power is insufficient, households are often forced back to solutions such as candles and kerosene lamps.

HomeSmart™ solves this problem in two ways: firstly, the system actively monitors customer usage to determine a typical expected performance. Then, by accurately monitoring the climatic conditions, the system automatically adjusts the light brightness to meet the user’s expected lighting duration. This active optimization of light brightness, battery charging and load conditions ensures the system delivers the best possible match to the customer’s typical daily requirement with the available power.

Upcoming Ashden 2017 Awards feature a number of Practitioner Network members as finalists

To be held on June 13, the 2017 Ashden International Conference, hosted by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, is an opportunity for clean energy innovators, industry leaders, NGOs, investors and academics to get together, present and discuss current themes and trends in the sustainable energy world. A number of Practitioner Network members are finalists for the 2017 Ashden Awards in the international category, including Angaza Design, Empower Generation, Mobisol, PEG Africa and SunCulture. See our Spotlight feature on Ashden this month to learn more.

d.light partners with Microfinance Institutions to provide solar energy in Kenya

Off-grid solar solutions provider d.light has signed a new partnership with micro lender Musoni to enable low-income consumers in Kenya to access solar energy at affordable prices. Through the collaboration with Musoni Kenya, Kenyans can now access Solar Home Systems through an arrangement whereby Musoni Kenya absorbs the cost upfront and then the customer services the loan over a certain period.

d.light has also had great success with a similar arrangement in India where it has reached millions of customers through MFIs. East Africa presents a unique case considering how MFIs are leveraging mobile money to reach the rural unbanked. The d.light and Musoni partnership involves sharing of each organization’s client base to accord more people the opportunity of going up the economic and energy ladders.

Sendea showcases significant differences between prices for SHS in Kenya

To increase transparency in the SHS sector, Sendea Marketplace published the first price overview for a country: Kenya. All leading distributors and manufacturers are present in the Kenyan market, which allows comparing the prices for the offered products. The product range goes from small plug & play systems with 2 LED up to a full energy-access system with TV, fan and multiple LED.

To see all price information in local currency with links to the product specs, visit here.

Power: On releases short film on the role of off-grid energy in Benin, launches crowdfunding campaign

Power: On has released this short video, narrated by Eva Green, which shows the role the start-up has played in bringing electricity – and all the development benefits it brings – to a small village in Igbere, Benin. Watch the video and learn how you can support their upcoming crowdfunding campaign to go full solar here.

Fenix meets education finance needs in rural Uganda

To investigate the struggles that households face in paying for education, CGAP recently partnered with Practitioner Network member Fenix International and Dalberg’s Design Impact Group (DIG) to carry out in-depth household interviews with Fenix customers. Fenix’s flagship product, ReadyPay Power, enables off-grid customers to access affordable solar power through a pay-as-you-go model. More than 110,000 last mile customers are already benefiting from reliable access to off-grid energy in Uganda.

Why is Fenix, a company best known for its lease-to-own solar home system, looking to offer financial services to help customers meet their education expenses? Learn more about their reasoning via CGAP’s blog post.

Practitioner Network members prove progress among GSMA’s first energy grantees of the Mobile for Development Innovation Fund

Read this blog post by GSMA on the progress to date of its first Mobile for Development Utilities Innovation Fund grantees, including Practitioner Network members Fenix International, MobisolKamworksLumosEcoEnergyM-KOPA and Persistent Energy Ghana (PEG).

IFC’s Russell Sturm Interviewed by CNBC Africa on Off-Grid Solar Market

On the sidelines of the recent 2017 spring meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, CNBC Africa’s Nozipho Mbanjwa spoke with Russel Sturm, Global Head of Energy Access at IFC, to learn more about Lighting Africa and the global off-grid solar market for clean, modern, sustainable and affordable solar products. Click here to watch the video.

Interview with GVE Projects Limited Nigeria

Please see this article based on an interview with Ifeanyi Orajaka, the Founder/CEO of Practitioner Network member GVE Projects Limited Nigeria, who discusses the origins and future plans of his company in scaling sustainable energy access in Nigeria.

Sunrun extends partnership with GRID Alternatives for low-income solar in the US

Residential installer Sunrun has extended its partnership with Practitioner Network member GRID Alternatives, the nation’s largest non-profit solar installer.

The expanded agreement between Sunrun and GRID Alternatives will provide financing for installations in low-income communities across the country. Sunrun will own, operate, maintain and insure the solar panels; GRID Alternatives will install the solar systems and fund each customer’s prepaid 20-year solar PPA or lease.

The model agreed by the two companies allows Sunrun to leverage both the ITC and depreciation benefits on the projects, reducing costs for GRID Alternatives and helping the organisation serve more low-income households.

Sunrun’s BrightSave Prepaid PPA product was recently approved for use on installations funded by California’s Single-Family Affordable Solar Homes Program (SASH), a low-income solar incentive programme managed by GRID Alternatives.

ALER and CLUB-ER sign a partner agreement to promote the rural electrification in Africa

ALER and CLUB-ER have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in a cooperative effort to support both Associations’ activities within their field of action, and specifically for ALER to speed up the development of renewable energy in African-Portuguese Speaking Countries through rural electrification.