Efficiency for Access Coalition launches research and development fund to accelerate innovation in off-grid and weak grid appliance technologies

26 November 2018

The Efficiency for Access (EforA) Coalition has launched a new grant fund for research and development (R&D) projects that aim to accelerate the affordability and efficiency of a range of low energy inclusive appliances that are suited to developing country contexts and promote social inclusion. The first round of the R&D fund, with anchor funding from UK Aid, is worth at least £1 million. This total is expected to be doubled with matching private investment.

This is part of the Efficiency for Access Coalition’s programme of activities to support and accelerate innovation in the sectors for off-grid and weak grid appliance technologies. The EforA coalition members include ten public funders, philanthropies and international agencies, which have joined together to accelerate global energy access through energy-efficient appliances. The EforA coalition currently has programmes and initiatives spanning three different continents, 26 countries and 19 key technologies.

The continued development of off-grid and weak-grid renewable energy markets and continued progress in energy access is tied to improved availability of well-designed, affordable, highly energy-efficient appliances. Appliances deliver critical energy services such as refrigeration, cooling, cooking and communications that improve the lives and incomes of under-served households and communities.

Distributed solar energy systems equipped with high-quality, super-efficient appliances can provide reliable access to health services for primary health centres that currently lack it. For example, a super-efficient solar-powered vaccine refrigerator uses only 10% of solar panel and battery capacity compared to a conventional solar refrigerator. This approach will lower costs and improve service delivery.

In this first funding round, grants are available from £50,000 to £200,000 per project and can include feasibility studies, mid-stage industrial research and late stage for experimental development.

The application window for the first round of grants went live on 15 November 2018 and will be open to all organisations that meet the application criteria. Submissions for applications will close on 16 January 2019 at midnight (GMT).

To be eligible for the funding, projects must focus on the development of innovative appliance technologies or products for use in off-grid and weak-grid settings which have potential to positively benefit targeted users at scale. Projects must also take into account gender equality and social inclusion issues including disability.

To find out more about the application process and for a full breakdown on the funding criteria, please visit the Efficiency for Access website: http://efficiencyforaccess.org/grants

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