Enabling Technologies Call

The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund awarded 20 organisations a total of £2.9 million in funding in 2020 for innovative, solar-powered appliance technology projects that will help to level the playing field whilst addressing the climate emergency.

Efficiency for Access invited funding applications for R&D projects that would  develop enabling technologies or products for weak and off-grid areas, with a particular focus on inclusivity and interoperability.


Awardees received funding to support the implementation of their projects over a two-year period, with individual awards ranging from £50,000 to £270,000. The Modern Energy Cooking Services programme funded six clean-cooking projects, as part of this call for proposals.


Around the world 840 million people live without access to electricity or appliances that help them earn an income or provide access to communications or clean cooking. Vulnerable and marginalised groups such as women and girls, people with disabilities, children and stateless people are particularly affected. In addition, many off-grid companies do not create products that have systems and components able to work together in the same environment. This is an important feature of mature markets for a range of technologies around the world.

About the Projects 

The winning organisations were:

Adili Solar Hubs– Developing an integrated system comprising a solar-powered ice machine with a water purification unit.

Angaza– Developing an open-source software to allow communication between off-grid appliances.

Green Empowerment – Creating an open-source, mini-grid management and optimisation tool.

Jirogasy – Developing solar powered computers to enable digitalisation in the off-grid market.

Nadji.Bi Sénégal – Creating a connected solar platform with software to ensure a sustainable business model for millet flour production.

Neopenda – Piloting an affordable and wireless vital signs technology in low-resource health facilities in East Africa.

Omnivoltaic –Developing easily discoverable hardware-to-cloud link, enabling remote data collection and sharing for any device in the off-grid sector.

OVO Solar– Developing a modular, Pay-As-You-Go enabled solar-powered egg incubator.

PEG Africa– Creating affordable solar refrigeration solutions for women working in commercial settings, which will help them earn income.

Powerhive – Creating an hourly rental service to make electric vehicles more viable with mini-grids, with a focus on women as the beneficiaries.

Simusolar – Expanding Simusolar’s IoT (Internet of Things) platform by allowing women farmers working off-grid and off-network to benefit from solar-irrigation systems and financing.

Village Infrastructure Angels – Developing energy efficient washing machine and dryer centres.

Wala – Piloting a holistic support solution that will distribute high-quality solar irrigation equipment to smallholder farmers in Malawi.