Thursday 25 January 2018, Hong Kong: A global summit in Hong Kong of the off-grid solar sector, organized by the IFC-World Bank Lighting Global program and GOGLA, concluded this week with announcements of $75 million in new investments and that the industry now generates an estimated $1bn a year in revenue.
Three days of high level discussion took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre where 700 people, representing 64 countries, from the off-grid solar energy sector gathered to take stock and discuss future trends and challenges for the sector. The biennial event, supported by ESMAP, provided a platform for companies to strike deals, announce investments and launch new products. Two investment announcements were made during the summit. Micro-grid provider Off Grid Electric announced $55M new investments from GE Ventures, among others, to expand into Ghana, while Azuri Technologies announced the launch of a $20 million off-balance-sheet debt financing program to provide working capital for the expansion of its off-grid energy services in East Africa. With the total capital raised in the last two years now over $580m, it is expected that the sector will provide improved energy access to 740 million people in 2022.
The event also saw the launch of a major new report, the 2018 Off-Grid Solar Market Trends Report, findings from which reconfirm that the market for off-grid solar devices is indeed seeing dynamic growth. In 2010 the landscape was made up of just over 60 suppliers of small-scale solar devices, now there are over 330 players occupying that same space. An estimated 130 million off-grid solar products have been sold globally since 2010, selling in over 100 countries. While there remains over two billion people globally who still lack grid connection, or reliable energy, the sector has reached an estimated 360 million of those people, often with vital first-time access to lighting and other energy services.
“These numbers reflect a dynamic young industry that is altering the economic landscape of developing countries while delivering unprecedented development impact,” explains Russell Sturm, Global Head of Energy Access at the International Finance Corporation. “And the arrival of a new crop of investors at this year’s event cast a light on a new phase of explosive growth for the next two years”
“Our ability to respond to the demand has changed by an order of magnitude” explains Koen Peters, Executive Director of GOGLA, when asked how the sector has grown over the last ten years. “The challenge is now on… let’s see if we can do the same again.”
GOGLA is the voice of the oﬀ-grid solar lighting and electrification sector. Established in 2012, GOGLA now represents over 100 members as a neutral, independent, not-for-profit industry association. Its mission is to help its members build sustainable markets, delivering quality, aﬀordable products and services to as many households, businesses and communities as possible across the developing world. The products and solutions that GOGLA members sell transform lives. They improve health and education, create jobs and income opportunities and help consumers save money. To find out more, go to www.gogla.org.
About Lighting Global
Lighting Global is the World Bank Group’s platform to support sustainable growth of the international oﬀ-grid solar market as a means of rapidly increasing energy access to people without grid electricity. Through Lighting Global, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank work with GOGLA, manufacturers, distributors, and other development partners to develop the modern oﬀ-grid energy market. The Lighting Global program — in partnership with industry — provides market insights, steers development of quality assurance frameworks for modern, oﬀ-grid lighting devices and systems, and promotes sustainability. To find out more, go to www.lightingglobal.org.