Weekly Review June 2-8

Every week, we share articles on an industry trend along with our thoughts.

We invest in alternative energy technologies for many reasons, one being their ability to provide safe and affordable energy to those beyond the reach of the grid. Check out news from this week that discusses bringing energy to those who are off-grid.

An African telecom embraces off-grid batteries” by Katie Fehrenbacher on GigaOM
The cross between mobile technology and alternative energy is what we like to call the ultra-high value area in our investment focus, particularly on the small scale. A startup called Fenix designs and manufactures a plug-n-play battery with capabilities to charge 50 mobile phones a week. Fenix recently sold 2,000 batteries African telecom giant MTN who will distribute them to off-grid customers to increase their phone usage.

International Finance Corporation launches off-grid lighting program for two million people in rural India” by Debjoy Sengupta on The Economic Times India
World Bank’s IFC is partnering with the American and Italian governments to launch a new program aimed at developing the private off-grid lighting market in rural India. The goal is to bring safe and affordable lighting to two million rural Indians living beyond the reach of the grid within the next three years. To do so, the IFC seeks to enhance the entire value chain including two of the most difficult challenges in serving poor markets: distribution and access to finance.

Off-grid generation to step into spotlight in Ghana” on Renewable Energy Magazine
The Alliance for Rural Electrification with the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) are hosting a conference in Ghana this October to focus on renewable energy technologies for beyond the grid. The conference, the 1st International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference is an official contribution to the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

A day at Husk Power University” by Keya Madhvani on The Acumen Fund Blog
Husk Power Systems, an Acumen Fund portfolio company, has established 90 power plants around India. Complimentary to the growing number of plants, Husk has established Husk Power University, a training institution for technical mechanics and operators. Husk’s model takes discarded rice husks and uses them as fuel for off-grid electricity generation. At Husk Power University, young technicians learn about the profession and the technology while developing their skills for future employment opportunities. Check out the blog post for pictures of students, employees, and systems.

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