The off-grid sector can ‘Power 1 Billion Lives by 2030’ – Here’s how

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By working together.

But to expand a little…

As we think of an inclusive and just clean energy transition, we must keep in mind that 760 million people – more than the entire population of Europe – still lack access to electricity and are using products  such as kerosene and candles to light their homes. Technologies that – in many countries – have been obsolete as a primary energy source for almost a hundred years. Over a billion more people have insufficient electricity supply.

This is limiting progress. Progress in welfare, education, economic growth and much more. To get a sense of what this means, simply imagine living with no light, no power, and that there is no electricity for any health, education or community services in your region. Now imagine what that might stop you from doing.

Image: ZOLA Electric

GOGLA represents more than 200 off-grid companies that in the last decade have reached over 300 million energy poor people with life changing solar solutions, including solar lights, home systems, irrigation and cooling. These solutions are improving health, safety and opportunity for families across the developing world; powering small enterprises, boosting agriculture and lighting clinics and schools. All whilst reducing millions of tons of CO2e.

The Ministerial Thematic Forums taking place this week, and the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy meeting taking place in September, provide an unparalleled opportunity for the off-grid sector to profile its potential and impact. As part of this initiative, GOGLA is proud to represent the off-grid industry and to develop a Compact in which we commit to a goal of improving 1 billion lives by 2030.

Our sector – and its pioneering technologies and business models – can achieve this target. We know it is possible: the technologies, the business models, the demand from users have all been proven, along with the impact that our industry delivers. With off-grid solutions, we have an opportunity to help power a green economic recovery from COVID-19, boost resilience for some of the world’s poorest communities and ensure that no one is left behind in the clean energy transition.

But we cannot do it alone.

Achieving this goal will mean that our industry will need to work in close partnership with   governments, development organisations, investors and other key stakeholders. Our compact is therefore just as much an ask, as it is a promise.

Across the coming weeks we will be reaching out to key stakeholder groups and asking them to commit to:

  • Off-grid companies: providing affordable, high-quality, products and services with robust consumer protections, while responsibly serving communities living in off-grid areas or with insufficient electricity supply
  • Governments: ensuring countries have a supportive enabling environment for sustainable off-grid markets, that will enable the scale-up and adoption of off-grid technologies for households and economic or productive activities
  • Public and private investors and institutions: facilitating greater investment in the off-grid sector, helping to unlock climate finance, and building or supporting innovative financial mechanisms
  • Development partners and non-governmental organizations: working with governments, investors and off-grid companies to deliver programs and initiatives that accelerate the growth of sustainable off-grid markets, deliver energy access and drive jobs, enterprise and the productive use of electricity

Working together we can refine the roadmap to reach the ‘1 billion lives’ target and build a Compact that is ambitious but achievable.

However, even if you are not linked to these groups, we urge you to take part: by sharing knowledge about the challenge of energy access, the potential of off-grid solutions, and the importance of ensuring the clean energy transition does not leave the most vulnerable behind.

In the weeks ahead – please follow our Social Media channels to learn more about our Compact and #Power1BillionLives2030 campaign – and get in touch if you think your organisation can partner with us in the journey to the Compact launch in September.

Join us to make the ‘Power 1 Billion Lives’ ambition a reality.

#Power1BillionLives2030 #BeBold

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