Frequently Asked Questions
What's changing at Lighting Global?
For more than a decade IFC and the World Bank have been working together through Lighting Global to expand access to modern solar energy services for people living without reliable grid electricity by building and growing the off-grid solar market. We have continually fine-tuned and calibrated our interventions in order to adapt to local needs, rapidly developing technological and business model innovations, market dynamics, and energy access priorities.
We are now once again adapting to best meet the current needs of the sector and the remaining unconnected population. With an off-grid ecosystem that now boasts a vibrant, dedicated, and deep roster of private-sector players operating a US$1.75 billion annual market, it is clear we have met our objective to create a thriving market. Thus, within this ecosystem, IFC will wind down its market development support activities under Lighting Global, while the World Bank, under the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), will continue supporting our Lighting Global activities, as we evolve the Lighting Global program to the next stage.
- About the evolution of the Lighting Global program
- About Lighting Global and how we work
- About ESMAP
How will IFC continue to support the off-grid solar sector?
IFC will still continue to support the off-grid solar sector after we wind down our Lighting Global activities. We are however shifting our focus from the wider market development activities to the essential task of mobilizing private investment to enable the commercial off-grid solar market to reach the scale needed to help deliver universal energy access by 2030. We will do this by leveraging IFC investment resources to support local financial institutions to provide needed local currency debt into the sector, and to pilot and help scale new financial instruments that will crowd-in mainstream investors to a capital hungry sector. We will continue to work closely with the sector through the IFC-CGAP-GOGLA collaboration on PAYGO PERFORM as well as in other areas to help build the foundation for continued market growth. This therefore means that we will not have an active market development program in the off-grid market.
What activities will continue under an ESMAP-led Lighting Global program?
Under ESMAP, Lighting Global will continue to carry out and publish market research, and to collaborate with GOGLA on their half-yearly sales data collection. We will maintain our support for flagship items including the Market Trends Report and the GOGLA-Lighting Global Off Grid Solar Forum, the core biennial knowledge resources that have supported the global market since their launch in 2009.
Lighting Global will also continue to leverage World Bank operations and policy dialogue with Governments to keep expanding off-grid solar markets. The Lighting Global team is currently supporting the preparation of energy access projects with an off-grid solar component in 20+ markets around the globe. The essential role that off-grid solar must play in order to achieve SDG7 is well established, and we are committed to supporting the sector in our quest to realize the ambition of universal energy access by 2030.
As the remaining unconnected homes are increasingly predominantly rural, remote, poor, and living in contexts suffering from fragility, conflict, or violence (FCV), we will focus increased attention on how these difficult-to-reach population segments can be served by the off-grid market. To support market expansion into new geographies and population segments, we will build on proven mechanisms such as results based financing (RBFs), access to finance, and policy support, as well as exploring innovative financing mechanisms like through the smart end-user subsidy lab. These mechanisms are available at a country level where the World Bank has dedicated off-grid energy projects.
We will also continue our support to services beyond households, including public institutions such as schools and health centers, and for productive uses leveraging solar energy (PULSE), while seeking to integrate deeper support to maximize the co-benefits of off-grid solar, such as enhanced gender equality and improved environmental conditions, for which we are developing both a gender and e-Waste toolkit to guide our activities in the future.
- About ESMAP
- About the End-User Subsidies Resource Center
- ESMAP Business Plan FY21 – 24: Electricity Access
How does Lighting Global support World Bank energy-access projects?
The ESMAP-supported Lighting Global team is embedded into World Bank operational teams to advise on off-grid components of energy-access projects. As part of these teams we draw on our tried and tested toolkit of interventions to develop country-specific strategies to increase energy access by scaling up off-grid solar markets. Together with the wider World Bank operational teams we advise and support the governments in designing and executing their energy access projects.
We advise how governments can improve their enabling environment through policies and regulations such as PAYG regulation, fiscal incentives, standards and quality assurance, and consumer protection. Our focus is on scaling up successful financing instruments such as financing facilities and RBFs and unlocking commercial financing, in particular from local commercial banks – including ensuring that these instruments have adequate provisions for local off-grid companies. Our on-the-ground experts support technical assistance facilities that provide matchmaking with manufacturers as well as business model support. We also develop, test, and scale new delivery methods to reach poor and remote populations, such as designing and implementing pro-poor subsidies, and others to close the affordability gap. Our focus is on supporting the off-grid solar sector in our quest to realize the ambition of universal energy access by 2030.
Will Lighting Global continue to offer business development services?
Lighting Global will continue to offer some limited business development services, while most of the others that were previously undertaken by Lighting Global have been transitioned and will be carried out by a number of organizations that we have partnered with over the years. Offered services will include the following:
- Lighting Global will continue to carry out and publish market research, and partner on flagship items including the Market Trends Report and the GOGLA-Lighting Global Off Grid Solar Forum. We will also continue to collaborate with GOGLA on their half-yearly sales data collection.
- The Lighting Global team works through World Bank energy-access projects and will continue to promote proven mechanisms that allow markets to expand into new geographies and population segments, such as RBFs, access to finance, and policy support. Increasingly these projects comprise technical assistance facilities that provide matchmaking with manufacturers as well as business model support.
- The business opportunity alerts provided by Lighting Global through the “In the Know” newsletters will be shared by VeraSol going forward. GOGLA will also share opportunities through its newsletters and via the GOGLA Bridge database. The company specific market trends analysis that has been provided by the Lighting Global team will now be provided by GOGLA to members. We have worked with them to build a data platform which can return instant market analysis wherever the data is available. This allows companies to carry out their own analysis on multiple markets at their convenience. Please contact GOGLA for more information and access.
Where can we get information about the World Bank programs that are supported by Lighting Global?
Lighting Global currently supports World Bank energy access programs in more than 20 countries around the globe, with a growing portfolio in the pipeline. You can find information about our program and activities on our website, as well as more detailed information about our country-level activities in sub-Saharan Africa at our Lighting Africa website. We will also send program updates via our newsletter.
The “In the Know” business opportunity alerts which have been provided by Lighting Global, will now be shared by VeraSol. The opportunities will be geared toward suppliers of VeraSol-certified products and contain up-to-date information about developments in the World Bank programs.
Will Lighting Global continue to offer “Associate” status?
No. “Associate” status was offered by IFC to manufacturers or distributors of Lighting Global quality-verified products, providing companies a window to receive client services from IFC. As World Bank programs supported by Lighting Global have never had an “Associates” market segment, this arrangement will not continue under the ESMAP-led Lighting Global program. However, some of the valued services previously offered by IFC will continue in some format, as detailed in the response to the above question, “Will Lighting Global continue to offer business development services?”
Will the “Path to Profitability” initiative continue?
The Path to Profitability Methodology and related resources will continue to be housed on the Lighting Global website, and Lighting Global is working with partners to encourage its use by other organizations and TA providers. Lighting Global also launched an online tool for this methodology, the “P2P Capsule” in May 2021. To receive the P2P Capsule and for questions about working with Path to Profitability in the future, please contact Kevin Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org or email email@example.com with the subject “P2P.”
Will the “PAYGo PERFORM” program continue?
The PAYGo Performance, Reporting, and Measurement (PERFORM) initiative and related resources will continue to be hosted on the dedicated PERFORM website. This is a joint initiative to support off-grid solar PAYGo companies and will continue to be managed by IFC, GOGLA and CGAP.
How can we stay in touch with the Lighting Global team?
Please share your questions, suggestions, and concerns with the firstname.lastname@example.org email address, and we will direct your inquiry to the appropriate parties.
And sign up for our Lighting Global newsletter to stay-up-to-date on our program.
Are there any other developmental organizations that offer market development programs in the off-grid sector?
Several developmental organizations offer market development programs in the off-grid sector: