The USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge is an initiative of the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) designed to achieve the results.
These results includes:
• To increase electric power generation to unserved and underserved African communities through sustainable business model solutions
• To expand energy access through off-grid solutions such as home systems and micro- or mini-grids
• To increase access to electricity for household and productive uses – while this may include power to
meet household consumer needs, emphasis is given to the delivery of power to productive commercial
and industrial activities including agricultural production and processing, commercial enterprises, industrial enterprises, healthcare facilities and others
• To increase women participation in the energy sector by supporting women-owned and managed
The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is a key element of the Beyond the Grid sub initiative of Power Africa, a U.S. Government-led partnership launched in 2013 to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 by increasing installed power capacity by 30,000 MW and creating 60 million new connections. Of these targeted 60 million new connections, as many as 25-30 million are expected to be added through off-grid solutions.
USADF is excited to request proposals for the USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge. Proposals of up to US$250,000 in grant per award will be considered. To be considered for the Challenge, applicants must be 100% African-owned and -managed private companies registered and operating in Africa.
Projects are to be focused on increasing sustainable energy access, specifically off-grid solutions, and extending the delivery of electrification to unserved and underserved communities in Africa. The type of clean energy technologies to be proposed may include, but are not limited to, solar, hydro, wind, biomass, biogas, gas, energy storage, and hybrid systems. Productive use applicationsin cross sector areas like agriculture and agri-business, healthcare, education, ICT, and other commercial and industrial activities are highly encouraged.
Winning applicants will receive:
• Grant capital up to $250,000 from USADF
• Access to intensive local technical assistance and governance support
USADF will consider proposals from 100% African-owned and managed companies. Passports or other
government-issued IDs of all owners and senior managers must be submitted with the applications. If the applying entity is owned wholly or in part by another entity, passports or other government-issues IDs of its owners must also be provided.
The applying entity must be a for-profit enterprise and must not be government owned, operated, or affiliated in any way. Applicants may be developers of their own technology and/or may be acquiring and implementing technology developed elsewhere. Applicants need to be legally registered in Africa and demonstrate the capacity to track and manage the project resources and operate in good standing with the local governments in which they operate.
Winning proposals must:
• Further develop, scale up or extend use of proven technologies for off–grid energy in Africa
• Benefit marginalized, low-income rural, urban, or peri-urban populations currently underserved by
utility companies, ideally with a focus on benefits to women and girls
• Demonstrate financial sustainability or the potential for financial sustainability. The proposed
investment period must include at least three months of revenue from sales of energy/electricity
• Demonstrate a proven track record of experience or have project sponsors or partners with a proven
track record of related experience
• Propose a budget of no more than US$250,000. Proposals with budgets greater than US$250,000 must
bring leveraged resources from one or more other sources that meet the total financing requirements.
Leveraged funds from other private sector and donor sources are encouraged
• Demonstrate clearly whether and how many new connections will be added, as well as potential for
future replication. A “new connection” is defined as new mini-grid connection or home system installed
• Proposals leveraging wind, hydro, biomass, and gas as the energy source are greatly encouraged
• Productive use applications in the agriculture and agri-business, commercial, and industrial sectors are
• Women-owned or -managed business is a plus
Applications will only be considered if they:
• Are 100% African-owned and passports or other government-issued IDs showing citizenship are
– All shareholders, members of the board and senior management must be citizens of a subSaharan African country
• Express clearly how they will benefit marginalized, grassroots people in Africa, including showing
demonstrable positive impacts for female beneficiaries
• Express clearly how they will achieve profitability and sustainable growth
• Are fully and legally registered in Africa and the registration is submitted
• Document adequate expertise in the field they are proposing or document how they will acquire the
• Clearly document how they will we use USADF grant capital to carry out their concept
All applicants must submit a completed proposal template in English or French. All applicants are required to use the linked application template (provided on the USADF website: www.usadf.gov/apply). The completed application template along with the required documentation should be submitted by email on or before September 30, 2022, to the following email addresses respectively:
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