Launch of the Access to Energy Institute – First collaborative research and development platform in the solar off-grid industry

Press Release

The launch of the Access to Energy Institute was announced today by its founder, Thomas Gottschalk, jointly with its four funders, the IKEA Foundation, DOEN Foundation, Good Energies Foundation and the Dutch development bank FMO.

The A2EI is a new organization form in the access to energy space. The A2EI strives to become the first charitable and collaborative research and development platform in the solar offgrid industry.

Millions of households have been equipped with innovative solar solutions developed by the fast growing solar home system industry. However, productive use appliances and larger solar solutions that can empower small businesses and small scale agriculture, create jobs and generate income are still mostly missing. The team at A2EI, which is composed of seasoned solar offgrid pioneers and based both in Berlin and Arusha, is convinced that a non-for-profit and co-development environment, in which commercial returns are not the main rationale, is ideal to invent/develop, build and pilot these solutions.

Next to own R&D projects, the A2EI is putting its technical, personnel and financial resources to the disposition of entrepreneurs who may need a nurturing environment to get from the ideation to the execution phase.

The intellectual property developed within and together with the A2EI will be accessible to the whole sector. Sharing innovation rather than privatizing it seems a prerequisite to foster a much faster adoption and scaling of solar solutions in order to achieve the sustainable development goal number 7 from the United Nations “access to energy for all”.

The team around Thomas Gottschalk will strive to forcefully make the point that collaboration can be an important complement to the innovation which emanates from competition. Together with entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers and customers, the A2EI believes it can be much faster when it comes to building the much needed solar generators, solar welding machines, solar agricultural tools and machines, solar cooling solutions and many more.

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