“In Their Element” is a series of curated lists by Ikigai Nairobi of the top off-grid companies powering sustainability in Sub-Saharan Africa. In this series, we highlight entrepreneurs and innovators from different sectors (elements) of the off-grid industry, including but not limited to off-grid areas of solar energy, mobility, investments, policy, and supporting global foundations in renewable energy.
The off-grid companies featured in this series are spearheading innovative clean energy solutions to make significant and lasting economic, social, and environmental impact, as well as enhancing the well-being of underserved markets.
As a wellness-focused workspace, Ikigai Nairobi values business and initiatives working towards innovative solutions that address and tackle both local and global issues of climate change and clean sustainable energy. We are home to a growing and diverse community of SMEs, corporates, and entrepreneurs in the off-grid market in areas of solar energy, clean fuels, financing, and policy to name a few.
In the first edition of “In Their Element” we share our pick of the top 3 organizations that are helping to build the infrastructure needed for the off-grid markets to thrive by developing standards, leveraging investment, or advocating for policy, legal or regulatory change in the off-grid industry.
GOGLA – The Voice of the Off-Grid Solar Energy Industry
GOGLA is the global association that promotes, safeguards, and convenes the off-grid solar and efficient appliance industry. Established in 2012, GOGLA advocates for enabling policies and increased investment to support over 200 members as a neutral, independent, not-for-profit industry association.
GOGLA partners with governments, development partners, investors, research institutions, media, and other stakeholders to provide the latest off-grid market insights on trends, innovations, and impacts in areas such as local economic development, health, and access to education and information. They also provide information on best practices in business, technologies, policy and finance, and host forums for discussion, learning, and development of off-grid markets.
The Global Off-Grid Solar Finance Summit is a hybrid event that will convene industry stakeholders to explore the climate nexus and discuss the sources and instruments for increased capital flows. It will present a recap of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy and COP 26 and analyze how the sector can capitalize on this momentum.
The Global Off-Grid Solar Finance Summit is organized by GOGLA, and supported by GET.invest, in partnership with the Global Distributors Collective, Efficiency for Access, and Catalyst Off-Grid Advisors. The event is a must for investors, companies, and development partners with an active interest in mobilizing the off-grid solar and climate nexus. Click here to learn more and register for the Global Off-Grid Solar Finance Summit.
The Shell Foundation is a registered charity, founded by Shell in 2000, that exists to support people living in low-income communities to escape poverty and ease hardship. They create and scale business solutions aimed at addressing two major global development challenges: access to clean energy and sustainable mobility.
Shell Foundation’s geographical focus is on Africa and Asia, where issues such as access to energy and mobility are major obstacles to sustainable development.
Since its inception, Shell Foundation has deployed funding into over 100 pioneering enterprises; such as M-KOPA who provide connected asset financing to enable low-income households and businesses access to affordable solar lighting products); and Burn Manufacturing who provide fuel-efficient, clean-burning cook stoves, just to name a few.
Through grant funding, non-grant instruments, and extensive business support, the Shell Foundation is able to build a stronger enabling environment to support their wide portfolio of pioneering social enterprises and institutions at various growth stages.
To date, their programs have created over 300,000 jobs, saved 31 million tons of carbon, and leveraged $7.87bn towards scale – benefiting 164 million people across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
KEREA – Kenya Renewable Energy Association
Amongst its key roles are promoting the interests of members of the renewable energy industry among government, public sector, the general public, and any other organizations that may impact the development of the renewable energy and off-grid industry. KEREA also facilitates forums for the exchange of information and ideas on matters relating to renewable energy development and utilization in Kenya.
In June 2021, KEREA made a notable impact in policy in the Kenyan Off Grid Industry, following the introduction of 14% VAT on off-grid products in June 2020 (which were previously exempt from the 14% VAT), at the height of the COVID pandemic. These VAT introductions were passed on to customers in the form of higher prices, making off-grid products unaffordable to low-income, vulnerable, and off-grid households in the wake of the ongoing health and economic crisis.
Alongside similar policy associations such as GOGLA, KEREA lead the appeal and lobbying to the Kenyan government which resulted in the reinstatement of VAT exemptions on renewable energy products in June 2021.
To learn more about the off-grid association and foundation featured here, visit their websites linked below:
GOGLA website: https://www.gogla.org/
Shell Foundation website: https://shellfoundation.org/
KEREA website: http://kerea.org/
Ikigai Nairobi is a collective of beautifully designed office spaces across Nairobi in Lavington, Lower Kabete, and soon, Riverside! We offer wellness-focused shared workspaces, flexible private offices, meeting rooms, and event spaces for innovative entrepreneurs, creatives, SMEs, and corporates.