Today’s consumers have a wider-range of energy needs than current systems and technologies can meet. Technological advances are making it easier to develop affordable, high-quality, off-grid appliances that meet consumers needs. In addition, energy storage solutions and innovations in digital payments and financial services could increase the utility of off-grid solutions for households. However, new technology development is expensive and capital intensive. Firms investing the time and resources necessary in research and development also face uncertain market demand.
Improving household off-grid energy system technologies and enhancing the availability of off-grid appliances and related services can drive consumer demand and boost customer adoption. Donors, investors, and the public sector can help alleviate the risks firms take in developing technologies for new and emerging markets.
Scaling Off-Grid Energy will spur innovation to overcome technology gaps that support the development of the off-grid industry as a whole. Partners collaborate on various approaches to stimulate innovation to support consumer demand, including developing competitions, issuing calls for innovation, and partnering organizations that are driving technological advances.
Refrigeration holds unique potential to unlock economic and social progress for the 600 million people living off the grid in sub-Saharan Africa. Refrigeration can prolong the nutritional value of food, diversify diets, enable income-generating activities, and reduce the time that households spend shopping or gathering food.
The marketplace for off-grid refrigeration is nascent, and refrigerators have yet to penetrate the off-grid market in sub-Saharan Africa in a significant way. To be viable in the off-grid market, refrigeration solutions must be significantly more efficient and lower cost than conventional products.
Through a partnership with the Department of Energy and Global LEAP Awards, this $600,000 competition aims to increase the availability of off-grid energy refrigeration solutions.