… the program has done an exceptional job in building the foundation of the off-grid market space and will help propel the African continent to achieve universal access for all. Charles Feinstein, Former Director of Energy and Extractives Global Practice, The World Bank
The Lighting Global program works with governments, the private sector, development partners, financial institutions, end-users, and other stakeholders to unlock key market barriers in order to enable affordable access to off-grid solar technologies for the hundreds of millions of people living without electricity around the globe. We work to address needs of each particular market by drawing from our tried-and-proven toolkit of interventions:
We work with governments towards removing policy and regulatory market entry barriers, and to integrate off-grid energy products into national electrification programs, helping countries to reach their energy access goals. Our team of experts are embedded within World Bank energy task teams and provide guidance and support for developing enabling environments through projects, leveraging World Bank lending to increase access to off-grid energy.
We conduct market research and publish reports on the findings, demonstrating the extensive opportunities presented by the off-grid market. Our research provides critical data to help governments, investors, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and development partners to make informed decisions to grow the off-grid market, and increase access where it is needed most.
We developed a quality assurance framework so consumers can buy with confidence. The purchase of an off-grid lighting or energy product can represent a significant investment for many families or small businesses, and consumers simply can’t afford to purchase something that doesn’t work well or won’t last. In order to protect consumers from poor-quality products and prevent the erosion of consumer confidence in off-grid products we developed the first test methods and quality standards for off-grid solar, setting the global baseline for product quality. These were adopted by the IEC as a reference point, and VeraSol is now carrying out the quality assurance work which we pioneered.
Access to Finance
Access to finance all along the supply chain has been identified as a critical need for the functioning and growth of the off-grid lighting and energy market. Through our participation in World Bank-funded energy access projects, we improve cash flow to businesses and individual consumers by helping to unlock financial bottlenecks all along the supply-chain. We increase access to finance by facilitating and informing financial products, and support the implementation of World Bank-funded market-enhancing lines of credit, results based financing, and end-user subsidies.
For the off-grid lighting and energy market to grow and thrive, consumers need to be aware of the advantages that off-grid solar provides over fuel-based sources, and the wide range of services they can power. To educate potential end-users on the many benefits of quality off-grid lighting and energy products, we produce consumer education materials and partner with governments to design effective consumer education campaigns.
The off-grid lighting market has been typified by remarkable innovation and novelty, and largely driven by social entrepreneurs. Embedded into World Bank energy access teams, Lighting Global provides advice to key stakeholders in the sector on best business practices and risk management, while supporting innovative business models that expand energy access at the base of the pyramid (BOP). We also work with the public sector to build national capacity for Ministries, standards bureaus, utilities, and related bodies.