USAID to aid African off-grid solar startups with 4 million dollars funding

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced the recipients of $4 million in new funding for African off-grid solar energy startups at the UN Climate conference held in Marrakech earlier this month.

America’s foreign aid agency sanctioned the seed funding to the eight companies through the Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development competition in a competitive process, and is expected to create up to 120,000 additional connections in off-grid communities.

solar startupsThe $4 million funding is expected to offer financial aid to the solar startups with the necessary finances to support geographic expansion throughout Africa, test new business models, and tap into further private and public financing.

Andrew M. Herscowitz, Power Africa Coordinator said, “The Grand Challenge for Development is designed to support innovators like these eight companies who are scaling up their inventions.”

 “The options for powering your home and business are changing, and these types of innovations will create opportunities to transform the power sector in homes across the planet,” he added further.

The eight recipients are as follows:

  • Greenlight Planet (Nigeria, Uganda) is expanding sales of low-cost solar home solutions through state of the art pay-as-you-go technology and deep distribution networks.
  • light (Kenya) is developing and expanding on software, training materials, and a call center to support a direct distribution model.
  • Fenix (Zambia) is expanding energy access through its expandable solar solutions kits that include options to power phones, lights, radios, televisions, and other appliances.
  • Orb Energy (Kenya) is establishing partnerships with banks and microfinance institutions to finance consumer solar system purchases.
  • VITALITE (Zambia) is distributing pay-as-you-go solar home systems, televisions, solar lamps, and appliances for rural, off-grid communities.
  • PEG Africa (Ghana) is testing new digital payment tools that will help rural customers more easily pay for their solar home systems using mobile money.
  • Shinbone Labs (Benin, Ghana) is directly selling pre-packaged, expandable, low-cost solar kits that can be remotely activated, monitored and, in the future, paid by mobile phones.

Village Energy (Uganda) is building a last-mile solar distribution and servicing network in rural Uganda by training youths and women to become technicians and retail shop managers in their communities.

Source: Cleantechnica

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