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Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP)


Quality Assurance Framework for Mini-Grids

Quality Assurance Framework for Mini-Grids
Monday, November 14, 2016



The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM’s) energy access initiative, works to catalyze the development of commercial markets for energy access solutions, as laid out in the Global LEAP guiding principles.

More than 1 billion people lack access to electricity and the basic services electricity provides; donor aid is inadequate to meet this enormous need. The public sector’s role must be to encourage market development and catalyze private-sector delivery of energy services, which can be achieved through efforts to build consumer and investor awareness and confidence. The success of this approach has been demonstrated in Global LEAP’s creation of a quality assurance framework for solar lighting devices and the subsequent remarkable growth in the solar lighting device market. Sales are growing more than 100% per year, and the market share of quality-assured devices now exceeds 40%.

Global LEAP was launched at the third Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3) as a commitment within the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All campaign and represents an expansion of the CEM’s energy access efforts to include partners beyond CEM governments. Global LEAP builds on (and replaced) the CEM’s original energy access initiative, known as the Solar and LED Energy Access Initiative, or SLED. The program builds on and extends foundational work carried out through the joint International Finance Corporation (IFC)- and World Bank–led Lighting Africa initiative. Over time, Global LEAP has expanded the scope of its activities to encompass efforts to enhance the efficiency of the direct current (DC)-powered appliances designed for use in an off-grid context (e.g., using home-based electricity systems, often powered by a solar panel on the roof, or community-level DC power via minigrids).

In looking for energy access solutions, much attention is paid to the supply side; however, more attention needs to be paid to the demand side. The use of super-efficient appliances—lights, televisions, fans, etc.—in the off-grid context can maximize the utility gained from the same amount of power. For example, a 40-watt solar panel can power a 25-watt incandescent light for almost five hours a day. However, if the latest high-efficiency appliances are used, the same system can power two brighter light-emitting diode (LED) lights for the same five hours while also powering a color television, a fan, a mobile phone charger, and a radio for more than three hours per day.

Key Accomplishment

Global LEAP launched the Outstanding Off-Grid Appliance Awards to help build sustainable markets for energy-efficient off-grid appliances. The inaugural awards identified the world’s best, most energy-efficient off-grid color televisions and LED room-lighting appliances. The quality-assured products will help create and sustain demand for technologies such as off-grid solar and make the most of the limited electricity that may be available to off-grid households and businesses.


  • Global LEAP works to catalyze markets through support for quality assurance frameworks, which build consumer and investor confidence.
  • Global LEAP works to encourage market transformation toward the best, most-efficient off-grid energy service technologies through its Awards programs.
  • Global LEAP works to facilitate collaboration among donors in the off-grid lighting and energy access space.

For more information, view the Global LEAP activities page, fact sheet, or guiding principles.