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Off- and Weak-Grid Appliance & Equipment Technology Summaries

Appropriately-designed, highly energy-effi­cient, cost-effective appliances are essential to delivering modern energy services to underserved communities around the world at the lowest possible social, economic and environmental cost. Because of this, they are an essential tool in scaling and acceler­ating global energy access and sustainable development efforts. Just as super-efficient LED technology has unlocked modern lighting for tens of millions of un- and un­der-electrified businesses and households, super-efficient appliances promise to unlock life-changing modern energy services—like telecommunications, cooling, mechaniza­tion and refrigeration—for millions more. But a great deal of technical progress and market development will be needed to realize this.

Low-Energy Inclusive Appliances (LEIA) is a new research and innovation programme supported by the UK AID that aims to double the efficiency and halve the cost of a suite of appliances that are well-suited for energy access contexts. LEIA will support a slate of research, inno­vation and market scaling frameworks that will enable entrepreneurs, policymakers, investors and other partners working in energy access to better utilize appliances to improve the lives for the world’s poorest people.

About This Document

In developing LEIA through late 2016 and early 2017, UK AID engaged CLASP—an international appliance energy efficiency policy and market transformation NGO—to research and advise upon the programme’s proposed scope.

Through an extensive literature review, data and market analysis, a market survey, and expert consultation process, CLASP and UK AID identified appliance products and technologies that LEIA may emphasize in its programmes and research:

  • – appliances for which the demand is strong and clear, but efficient products are only available in low volumes and at relative­ly high cost
  • – early stage technologies which may be disruptive to existing dominant appli­ances. These technologies may create opportunities to leapfrog in terms of efficiency or cost, with implications po­tentially for a whole range of products.

Among these, four near-to-market products are identified: refrigerators, televisions, fans, and solar water pumps. These products make up a substantial portion of near-term consumer demand in off- and weak-grid settings and technical improve­ments and market scale-up can be expected to support stronger market fundamentals and improved access in the short-run.


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