Beyond the Grid

Speeches Shim

Nancy, 14, uses her family's M-KOPA solar powered light to study by at night

 

Power Africa recognized the need to support off-grid electricity access and launched the Beyond the Grid sub-initiative focused exclusively on unlocking investment and growth for off-grid energy solutions on the African continent.

WATCH: POWERING SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA'S COVID-19 RESPONSE - BEYOND THE GRID


Through Power Africa and USAID, the United States Government is increasing access to electricity for health centers and communities across sub-Saharan Africa. Improved access to electricity strengthen's our partner countries' self-reliance and capacity to manage COVID-19.

 

BEYOND THE GRID OVERVIEW


Two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa live without access to electricity. Although many of these people will be connected to the electricity grid in the future, some live in remote areas that will never be connected. Even those who will be connected may face a long wait as the infrastructure build-out tries to keep up with population growth. Power Africa recognized the need to support off-grid electricity access and in 2014 launched the Beyond the Grid sub-initiative focused exclusively on unlocking investment and growth for off-grid energy solutions on the African continent.

Beyond the Grid leverages Power Africa’s innovative transaction-focused model to unlock finance and drive systemic reforms relating to off-grid energy solutions. Beyond the Grid has partnered with over 40 investors and companies that have committed to invest over $1 billion. These private sector commitments will be significant in helping Power Africa deliver first-time electricity access to households and businesses. 

Little Sun, Senegal
In the eco-village of Yeuma, Senegal, Little Sun Founder Frederik Ottesen and Yeuma residents install a prototype of the Little Sun community solar mobile phone charger, large enough to serve the charging needs of an entire village.
Samuel Dansette of Little Sun

Beyond the Grid is accelerating off-grid electricity access, focusing on two strategic priorities – household solar and mini-grids – to add 25-30 million new connections by 2030, in support of achieving the overall Power Africa goal of adding 60 million new home and business connections.

ACCELERATING OFF-GRID ENERGY ACCESS

Beyond the Grid Objectives

  • Unlock investment and growth for off-grid energy solutions on the African continent.
  • Enable 25-30 million new off-grid energy connections by 2030
  • Accelerate Solar Home System and Mini-grid connections in partnership with 250+ companies

Beyond the Grid Activities

  • Support off-grid companies to promote innovative products and services, enhance management skills, and successfully scale up and grow their businesses
  • Help off-grid companies maximize value proposition through market and business intelligence
  • Support the development of business models and private sector participation, tailored to each country’s regulatory environment and market dynamics
  • Offer transaction advice support and facilitates access to finance for off-grid companies

Achieving Results

  • Over 16 million new household & business connections added
  • Helped private sector off-grid companies secure over $752.2 million in financing to grow their businesses and accelerate energy access
  • Leading partnership to bring energy access to refugee settlements in Kenya & Uganda

 

BEYOND THE GRID SUCCESS STORIES


For more Beyond the Grid success stories, visit Power Africa's blog 

Through Power Africa and USAID, the United States Government is increasing access to electricity for health centers and communities across Uganda. Improved access to electricity strengthen's Uganda's self-reliance, and capacity to manage COVID-19.

 

OFF-GRID ENERGY RESOURCES


Power Africa's Beyond the Grid (BTG) program has developed resources to provide valuable market intelligence for off-grid energy stakeholders, including:

SMART COMMUNITIES COALITION


Power Africa and Mastercard co-chair the Smart Communities Coalition (SCC), which seeks to improve private sector-led delivery of essential services in displacement settings. SCC efforts focus on three foundational pillars — connectivity, digital tools, and energy access.

Through enhanced coordination between public and private entities and strategic implementation of technology, the SCC seeks to improve outcomes for both refugees and host community members by:

  • Increasing efficiencies in camp management and service delivery
  • Empowering refugees to provide for themselves and their families
  • Equitably addressing the needs of host community members in and around targeted settlements.

SCCIF banner

In 2020, the Smart Communities Coalition Innovation Fund (SCCIF) was launched to advance and accelerate the model of public-private co-design and co-implementation of programs in the humanitarian context. Managed by EnDev with initial funding from USAID, the SCCIF supports entrepreneurs, companies, social enterprises, microfinance institutions, NGOs and consortiums to expand their delivery chains and bring innovative solutions to displaced populations including refugee camps, settlements and host communities in refugee-hosting areas.

OFF-GRID ENERGY FOR PRODUCTIVE USE


Power Africa recognizes that in order for off-grid energy solutions to improve lives and livelihoods, they must ultimately be linked to productive uses.

Given that agriculture in particular is a source of livelihood for 86% of those living in rural areas, economic development and income growth for farmers and their families will depend on linking energy to the agricultural value chain.

But bringing these types of solutions to scale is not always easy.

That is why Power Africa funds activities focused on growing the productive use sector, in order to drive the widespread adoption and expansion of these technologies. Beyond the Grid’s technical advisors are working with an emerging cohort of productive use companies to achieve scale, helping companies like Simusolar to secure new investments.

In addition to supply-side support, Beyond the Grid also works on demand stimulation, for example, Power Africa funded an awareness campaign in an isolated island community that stimulated a variety of new industry services such as dairy production, steel welding and fish processing.

POWER AFRICA OFF-GRID PROJECT (PAOP)


The USAID-funded Power Africa Off-Grid Project (PAOP) provides technical assistance, access to finance and targeted grant funding to support the development of sub-Saharan Africa's off-grid energy sector.

Download our Project Overview for more information.

For country-specific PAOP fact sheets, please contact Lovemore Seveni at lseveni@usaid.gov.

Last updated: June 30, 2021

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