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Competition Launched for Off-Grid Solar E-Waste Innovations

Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge to Offer $1,000,000 in Grant Funding

London, UK – The Efficiency for Access Coalition announced the launch of the Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge yesterday at the Transforming Energy Access: Innovations Toward SDG7 event in London. The program – supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its commitment to the Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development – will disburse $1 million in grant funding to companies with innovative solutions for off-grid solar e-waste management. In doing so, the program seeks to catalyze broader and longer-term action among companies, investors, and policy makers to address off-grid solar e-waste.

A technician repairs an off-grid solar product.

More than one billion people live without access to electricity. Off-grid solar products represent the most effective and efficient way to electrify many of these communities, and in 2016 an estimated 30 million off-grid solar products were sold globally. The market for these products is nascent, however, and most of the products sold to date have not yet reached end-of-life. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity.

“The off-grid solar market is growing rapidly, with millions of underserved people around the world gaining access to modern energy services for the first time thanks to small-scale distributed solar energy technologies,” said Molly Doyle, Senior Advisor to SOGE at USAID. “We want to help ensure the industry’s growth is sustainable over the long term and further enhance the sector’s reputation as a leader in environmental responsibility.”

Grant funding is available for recycling and e-waste management companies who provide services (or plan to expand services) to the off-grid solar sector, and off-grid solar distributors who want to pilot or expand end-of-life operations across sub-Saharan Africa. Winners will receive funding to support implementation of their proposed projects over a 12-month period. A series of case studies based on lessons learned from each project will be developed at the end of the implementation period.

The Efficiency for Access Coalition will implement the program in collaboration with GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry. GOGLA recently launched an e-waste working group to coordinate industry efforts and identify best practices for product repair, reuse, and end-of-life recycling. “The Global LEAP Solar E-Waste Challenge will provide critical funding for companies that want to lead the way on e-waste,” said Drew Corbyn, Program Manager for Quality and Consumer Protection at GOGLA.

The application window closes on 15 May 2019. More details about the Global LEAP Solar E-waste Challenge, and the application forms can be found at www.globalleapawards.org/e-waste.

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Media contact: Jeff Stottlemyer, [email protected]

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About the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development: Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development is a global partnership founded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development, the African Development Bank, and the independent charity, Shell Foundation. By optimizing the collective resources and expertise of its partners, SOGE accelerates the growth of a dynamic, commercial off-grid energy market to provide clean, modern, and affordable energy access to the millions of households and businesses beyond the grid in sub-Saharan Africa. Learn more at www.scalingoffgrid.org.

About the Efficiency for Access Coalition: Efficiency for Access first kicked off in 2015 as a year-long call to action and collaborative effort led by Global LEAP & Sustainable Energy for All. Now, a number of donors have joined together under a scaled-up Efficiency for Access – a coalition promoting energy efficiency as a potent catalyst in global clean energy access efforts. Coalition programmes aim to scale up markets and reduce prices for super-efficient, off- and weak-grid appropriate products, support technological innovation, and improve sector coordination. Current Efficiency for Access Coalition members have programmes and initiatives spanning three different continents, 44 countries, and 19 key technologies. Learn more at www.efficiencyforaccess.org.

About GOGLA: GOGLA is the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry. Established in 2012, GOGLA now represents over 135 members as a neutral, independent, not-for-profit industry association. Its mission is to help its members build sustainable markets, delivering quality, affordable products and services to as many households, businesses and communities as possible across the developing world. Learn more at www.gogla.org.