Through ESMAP, Lighting Global’s off-grid experts are embedded into World Bank operational teams to advise on the off-grid components of energy-access projects. We help to develop country-specific strategies to increase energy access by scaling up off-grid solar markets, drawing from our toolkit of interventions as appropriate. We advise governments on how to improve their off-grid solar enabling environment through policies and regulations such as PAYGo regulation, fiscal incentives, access to finance for the private sector, adoption of quality standards, and consumer protection. We are currently informing the preparation and implementation of more than twenty World Bank-funded energy access projects around the globe.
The World Bank’s Commitment to Off-Grid Solar
As the beneficial impacts of off-grid solar are increasingly felt and recognized around the globe, support for their implementation continues to grow. Between July 2015 and June 2022, World Bank programs which have an off-grid solar component had been approved in more than three-quarters of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
Meanwhile financial support from the World Bank to off-grid solar and energy access related technical assistance reached $800million between 2018-2019 – and by June 2022 this more than doubled, to over $2billion having been committed to accelerate the adoption of off-grid solar thus far.
Government Support for Off-Grid Solar
As World Bank funding is loaned directly to governments, their willingness to borrow has also demonstrated their commitment to using off-grid solar to address their national energy access gaps. So far, in their policies, more than twenty-five national governments reference or are in the process of referencing, quality standards based on those created by Lighting Global (now maintained by VeraSol). More and more governments are also including off-grid solar in their integrated electrification plans (IEPs) together with grid and mini-grid, with 16 additional countries having completed their IEPs in the last 2 years. This underscores how well established the essential role that off-grid solar must play in order to achieve SDG7 has become.
Lighting Global will continue to inform World Bank operations, lending, and policy dialogue with Governments to keep expanding off-grid solar markets to achieve their vast potential.