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Global Leaders Launch Initiatives to Jumpstart Off-Grid Clean Energy Services Market

Global LEAP Partners Unveil Innovative New Efforts to Deploy Clean Energy to Under-Electrified Communities throughout the Developing World

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Global Leaders Launch Initiatives to Jumpstart Off-Grid Clean Energy Services Market

Globally, a total of 1.2 billion people live without adequate access to electricity, and another billion have less than four hours of reliable electricity each day. The vast majority of these off-grid communities are in developing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the people who live in them are frequently among the world's poorest. Photo credit: Joerg Boethling / Alamy Stock Photo

Partners in the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial led by the U.S. Department of Energy, today announced a slate of new investments to advance the global market for off-grid renewable energy solutions. The efforts announced today will support the development and deployment of highly-energy efficient lighting and appliance products designed for use with small-scale distributed solar systems. These technologies are essential to achieving the United Nation’s 7th Sustainable Development Goal of achieving universal energy access by 2030. 

Through its support for the Lighting Global program and efforts like the Global LEAP Awards, the Global LEAP Off-Grid Appliance Data Platform, and market research and analysis, Global LEAP has worked for years to advance the off-grid clean energy market. Its efforts identify and promote the world’s best off-grid solar lights and appliances, build technical and market capacity, and help the rapidly emerging off-grid clean energy industry make smarter, faster decisions about off-grid clean energy products and services. The investments announced today build upon and significantly amplify efforts by Global LEAP and its partners.

  • The government of Italy announced $7.2 million in new funding to support the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global program, including its groundbreaking quality assurance framework, increasing the Italian government’s total support for the program to $20.75 million since its first investment at the inaugural Clean Energy Ministerial 
  • Power Africa announced a $1.5 million multi-year commitment to support the expansion of Global LEAP+RBF to East Africa. Global LEAP+RBF is an innovative new partnership to drive and demonstrate scale in the global off-grid appliance market. 
  • The third round of the Global LEAP Awards were announced, featuring competitions for the world’s highest quality, most cost-effective and energy efficient off-grid appliances. The 2016-17 awards will be supported by Power Africa, through the U.S. Department of Energy, and the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) U.S. Global Development Lab. 

“Quality assurance has been a critical driver of growth in the off-grid solar lighting market, and will be an integral part of the market’s continued success,” said Russell Sturm, who leads the Lighting Global program at the International Finance Corporation. “The Government of Italy’s continued support will help ensure that millions more off-grid households gain access to affordable, modern solar lighting solutions.”

“The companies pioneering off-grid solar lighting have transformed global development efforts,” said USAID’s Katrina Pielli, who leads the Power Africa initiative’s Beyond the Grid program. “Groundbreaking consumer financing like micro-finance, pay-as-you-go and mobile money has transformed it even more. The next big breakthrough is delivering truly modern energy services to un- and under-electrified households and businesses through efficient off-grid appliances.” 

“We’ve seen outstanding progress over the past few years,” said the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rose Mutiso, who co-leads the Global LEAP initiative. “Off-grid solar systems and high quality, super-efficient appliances are the future of energy access. The work we’re announcing today will help ensure that the future comes sooner rather than later.” 

Contact: Matt Jordan, CLASP, +1.650.283.8352, 

Background: Globally, a total of 1.2 billion people live without adequate access to electricity, and another billion have less than four hours of reliable electricity each day. The vast majority of these off-grid communities are in developing Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the people who live in them are frequently among the world's poorest. 

Appliances and the services they provide are in high demand in off-grid communities throughout the developing world. This demand frequently inspires off-grid consumers to purchase small renewable energy systems, such as solar home systems, to power the appliances. These clean energy systems replace these households' needs for pre-modern, polluting energy sources such as kerosene, and provide significant health, environmental, and socioeconomic benefits. 

High-quality, energy-efficient lights and appliances optimize these benefits by extending run times, reducing energy costs, and improving the energy services available to off-grid consumers. 

About the Clean Energy Ministerial: The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a forum of the world’s largest and most forward-leaning countries working together to accelerate the global transition to clean energy. Launched in 2010, the CEM pairs the high-level engagement of energy ministers with sustained initiatives and high-visibility campaigns to drive faster deployment of clean energy policies and technologies worldwide. For more information, visit

About Global LEAP: The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership is the Clean Energy Ministerial’s energy access initiative. It is led by the United States through the U.S. Department of Energy in partnership with the governments of the United Kingdom, Italy, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa. Global LEAP’s mission is to support the development of sustainable commercial markets for clean energy access products and services, and its efforts focus on (I) supporting quality assurance frameworks for off-grid energy products and services, which build consumer, investor and policymaker confidence, (II) enabling the uptake of super-efficient off-grid technologies, which reduce costs, and (III) facilitating programmatic, policy, and research collaboration among energy access stakeholders. In December 2015, at COP21 in Paris, Global LEAP, SE4All and their partners launched the Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition, a new campaign to raise global awareness of the efficiency-access nexus and mobilize commitments towards the goal of deploying super-efficient end-use technologies to help drive universal access to energy. For more information, visit

About Power Africa and Beyond the Grid: Power Africa is a U.S. Government-led initiative that addresses one of the most pressing challenges to sustainable economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa—access to electrical power. Power Africa’s goals are to add 30,000 new megawatts and 60 million new household and business connections through partnership with over 120 private sector businesses, over 10 donor and strategic partners, 10 U.S. government agencies, and with African governments and entrepreneurs. For more information, visit

About Lighting Global: Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s platform supporting sustainable growth of the international off-grid lighting market as a means of increasing energy access to people not connected to grid electricity. Through Lighting Global, IFC and the World Bank work with the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), manufacturers, distributors, and other development partners to develop the off-grid lighting market. The Lighting Global program provides market insights, steers development of quality assurance frameworks for modern, off-grid lighting devices and systems, and promotes sustainability, in partnership with industry. To date, the Lighting Global program has enabled the sale of 17 million quality-assured off-grid solar lighting products, benefiting more than 85 million people in 32 countries. For more information, visit

About the U.S. Global Development Lab: The U.S. Global Development Lab builds on USAID’s 50 years of experience in applying science, technology, innovation, and partnership (STIP) to accelerate development impact. The Lab’s mission is to: produce breakthrough development innovations by sourcing, testing, and scaling proven solutions to impact millions of people; and accelerate the transformation of the development enterprise by opening development to people anywhere with good ideas; promoting new and deepening existing partnerships, using evidence and data; and harnessing scientific and technological advances. For more information, visit

About Global LEAP+RBF: Global LEAP+RBF is an innovative new market development program that utilizes results-based financing to drive and demonstrate scale, and reduce early-mover risk, in the global off-grid appliance market. The program provides incentives for companies that procure and distribute large quantities of Global LEAP Winning and Finalist products in key off-grid country markets. Global LEAP+RBF launched in Bangladesh in February 2016 and 7,500 quality assured off-grid televisions have been sold through the program to-date. Global LEAP+RBF is a partnership between Energising Development, the U.S. Department of Energy, Power Africa, the International Finance Corporation, and CLASP. For more information, visit