RFP 10-14

Global LEAP Off-Grid Appliance Market Research


CLASP is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the environmental and energy performance of the appliances and related systems we use every day, lessening their impacts on people and the world around us. CLASP develops and shares transformative policy and market solutions in collaboration with global experts and local stakeholders.

CLASP serves as the Operating Agent for the several programs of the Global Lighting & Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) to catalyze and support commercial markets that deliver clean energy access products and services to un- and under-electrified communities throughout the developing world. Global LEAP does this by developing product quality assurance frameworks, promoting demand-side super-efficiency, and encouraging collaboration among donors and other institutions.

In support of the Global LEAP initiative, CLASP is seeking a market research team to contribute to the initiative’s objectives of: 

  1. Enhancing global awareness and understanding of the global off-grid appliance marketplace, and its key actors, trends, drivers, and challenges; and 
  2. Highlighting business and/or market intervention opportunities for companies and other stakeholders working in or considering the off-grid appliance marketplace.

Information on the background, objectives, scope of work, reporting, and timeframe for implementation of the project is provided below, along with instructions for proposal submission and evaluation.


Global LEAP recently announced the results of the inaugural Global LEAP Outstanding Off-Grid Appliances Awards competition (Global LEAP Awards), an international competition to identify and promote the best, most energy-efficient appliances for use on off-grid (i.e. low-voltage DC) clean energy systems like solar home systems (SHSs). By enhancing consumer trust and reducing energy costs, high quality, energy-efficient off-grid appliances support and enable demand for off-grid clean energy systems like SHSs and renewable mini-grids. These systems and the modern electric services they provide in turn displace hazardous, expensive pre-modern fuels like kerosene and charcoal and deliver enhanced service, improved quality of life, and other socioeconomic and environmental benefits for off-grid households and communities.

Quality-assured, appropriately designed, super-efficient appliances maximize the benefits of off-grid energy service while minimizing the costs of energy supply. In doing so, they both create and enable demand for off-grid clean energy systems—and they are in very high demand by the retailers and distributors across the developing world that sell these systems. 

Despite this pent up demand, presently there is very little information available about the off-grid appliance market as a whole. Most appliance manufacturers are unaware of the opportunities presented by the clean energy access market, and are unfamiliar with the market’s needs. Clean energy access entrepreneurs often do not know how to find or identify high quality appliances, or how to best source and develop their own products. Policymakers and international development stakeholders do not have sufficient market and product performance data necessary to design and implement effective interventions to support quality and energy performance standards, innovation competitions such as the Global LEAP Awards, or other market incentive programs.

CLASP, as a partner in Global LEAP, is conducting research to help bridge these gaps in market intelligence in order to allow industry, investors, multi-lateral development donors and other stakeholders to make faster, better informed decisions about the off-grid marketplace and accelerate the uptake of clean energy access technologies. 

This research project will contribute to Global LEAP’s objectives of: 

  • Enhancing global awareness and understanding of the global off-grid appliance and low-voltage DC off-grid energy system marketplace, and its key actors, trends, drivers, and challenges; and 
  • Highlighting business and/or market intervention opportunities for companies and other stakeholders working in or considering the off-grid appliance and energy system marketplace.

Scope of Work

CLASP is seeking a researcher or team of researchers to assess the global off-grid appliance marketplace, and its key actors, trends, drivers, and challenges. This work will be compiled into a report that will be ready for and presented at a high-profile international conference in mid- to late-2015.

The research shall seek to cover the following:

1. Current off-grid appliance market trends and statistics, broken out by key regional and national markets (i.e. Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia), including but not limited to: 

  • Market Size: 
    • Estimated sales of off-grid appliances, categorized by appliance type and means of sale/distribution;
    • Estimated growth (or contraction) of market over past five years;
  • Consumer Characteristics & Needs:
    • Income distribution of households/small- and micro-businesses purchasing off-grid appliances;
    • Mapping of economic and regional character of those households/small businesses (i.e. income, kerosene prices, existing familiarity/comfort with off-grid tech, mobile/cellular network availability, etc.) and off-grid appliance purchases/demand; 
  • Supplier Characteristics: 
    • Names and market characteristics of companies manufacturing and/or marketing off-grid appliances;
  • Intermediary/Distribution Characteristics:
    • Costs and configurations (i.e. solar PV panel and battery size, appliance offerings, etc.) of common and representative appliance/system bundles;
    • Points of intersection, interdependency, and/or tension between off-grid appliance and energy system markets;

2. A 3- to 5-year market outlook, broken out according to the same markets as above, to include: 

  • Off-grid energy system company and consumer demand for appliances – including consumer and small- and micro-business appliances – and implications for the market;
  • Estimated demand growth for off-grid appliances through 2016;
  • Estimated size of addressable market;
  • Estimated growth (or contraction) of market over next five years;
  • Profile and projected market applications for different off-grid appliances;
  • Profile of new market players;
  • Key catalysts and drivers of market development and growth;
  • Key constraints on market development and growth; and
  • Needs of key market actors, including manufacturers, importers, energy system companies, governments, distributors and consumers; 

3. Social, environmental, and economic impacts of the technologies, and any other interesting facts or implications;

4. Barriers to market entry and development, some of which may include: 

  • Appliance manufacturers’ awareness of and appetite for off-grid market;
  • Costs and expertise necessary to produce off-grid appropriate appliance designs;
  • Bulk purchaser and/or consumer credit availability and/or ability to pay; 
  • Market infrastructure such as laboratory test methods and testing expertise, quality and energy performance standards, certifications, etc.; and
  • “Last-mile” logistical and supply chain challenges.

Reporting & Deliverables

The research team will be expected to work closely with CLASP to develop and deliver the following: 

  • A thorough literature review that evaluates existing research, studies, and data sets that are pertinent to this market;
  • A draft market research report for review by CLASP and other Global LEAP stakeholders; 
  • An in-person or web-based presentation of the draft report; 
  • A final report that addresses comments from the draft report, conveying relevant data with charts, infographics and photographs where possible; and
  • Presentation materials, such as PowerPoint slides and graphics, for use in workshops, webinars, and conferences.

As budget allows, and as agreed to with CLASP, the research team may also contribute to the development of interim reports, such as best practice case studies, as needed.


The Project is expected to commence in Oct 2014 and to be concluded within nine months of inception. 

Evaluation & Criteria

A committee will evaluate project and budget proposals received from respondents. Selection of qualified experts will be based upon the following criteria:

Qualifications, including:

  • Familiarity with off-grid appliance markets, regions and cultures (i.e. Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, etc.);
  • Thorough understanding of off-grid consumers, products, and market characteristics and needs, and of the Global LEAP initiative and affiliated global clean energy access and development stakeholders;
  • Experience and expertise in market research and projects;
  • A thorough grasp of this market research project’s scope, objectives and goals

Cost proposal

Proposals will be evaluated using a Quality and Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) method, with weights of 40 percent towards team and organization experience and qualifications, and 60 percent towards proposed costs. Additional information about CLASP’s selection process is available here.

Information for Potential Applicants

A. Terms, Conditions, and Requirements Relevant to Project 

The research team’s travel and other reasonable expenses incurred in the execution of this work will be reimbursed following approval by the program manager or other appropriately designated CLASP staff. The amounts should not exceed those specified in the budget. At a minimum, the research team should budget for one or two representatives to travel to an international conference in in mid- to late-2015.

B. Confidentiality Statement

All data and information received from Global LEAP designees, CLASP, appliance manufacturers, or other off-grid clean energy access industry stakeholders for the purpose of this assignment are to be treated confidentially and are only to be used in connection with the execution of this assignment. All intellectual property rights arising from the execution of this assignment are assigned to Global LEAP donors and their designees. The contents of data sets or written materials obtained and used in this assignment may not be reused or disclosed to any third parties without the expressed advance written authorization of Global LEAP designees.


Interested parties should submit separate technical and financial proposals as electronic files. The file should be named as per the following example:  “Contractor Name: RFP10-14

The Project Proposal must include the following elements:

  • Full project methodology
  • Detailed proposed timeline of deliverables and milestones
  • Biography or organizational profile
  • Examples of relevant, related work
  • CVs and related summaries of experience and qualifications of applicable staff

The Financial Proposal must include the following elements:

  • Detailed budget that includes a breakdown of costs for staff time and expense

If necessary for the selection process, CLASP may request additional information from any applicant.

Proposals should be submitted via the CLASP website using the “Submit Bid” button above and filling out all the requested information. The deadline for proposal submission is October 10, 2014. Proposals submitted directly to anyone at CLASP will not be accepted.

All questions may be addressed to Matt Jordan at mjordan@clasponline.org. The last date for submission of questions related to this RFP is September 30, 2014. We request all inquiries be made by e-mail and not by phone.  

Solar home systems (SHS) improve the lives of off-grid communities by providing access to clean, reliable electricity. The Off-Grid Solar Home Systems Guide provides technical and market information about SHSs available on the global market.

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