Leading companies in the solar home system (SHS) and off-grid appliance markets recently gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for an off-grid appliance industry networking event hosted by the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial. The event provided an essential venue for industry members to share information about super-efficient, high-quality off-grid appliances and identify new business opportunities, which can help accelerate the growth of off-grid clean energy markets in Bangladesh and around the world.
The global off-grid clean energy services market is growing rapidly, with technologies such as portable solar lanterns and solar home systems leading the way. One recent analysis projects that the off-grid market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 26% through 2030. Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest and most dynamic SHS markets, with close to 4 million systems installed over the past decade. The global market is still developing, however, and face-to-face conversations between technology and service leaders are important to stimulate growth.
Convened by the Global LEAP and the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Association (BSREA), the networking event brought together leading off-grid solar energy companies and appliance manufacturers from Bangladesh, India, Kenya, and other countries focused on super-efficient, high-quality off-grid appliances such as lighting, fans, televisions, and refrigerators. These appliances provide the modern energy services needed by off-grid households but require less energy than comparable alternatives. By reducing the need for off-grid energy supply, super-efficient appliances can reduce the overall cost of off-grid energy services by up to 50%. More than 65 companies attended the event, including many winners and finalists of the Global LEAP Outstanding Off-Grid Appliance Awards, which identify and promote the most energy-efficient, affordable, highest quality appliances. The first Global LEAP Awards competition focused on off-grid color televisions and LED room lighting appliances. The event follows the successful PlugFest networking event held during the fifth Clean Energy Ministerial in in May 2014. Higher and more diverse attendance at this year’s event highlights the sector’s strong growth. “More than twice the number of companies attended this year’s event, there was a much wider selection of products, and there was more diverse geographic representation,” said Nessar Khan of Bangladesh’s Maks Renewable Energy Company Ltd., whose product was a Finalist in the inaugural Global LEAP Awards television competition. “I think that shows just how fast the market is moving.” “It was great to meet with so many Bangladeshi companies,” said Ted Hesser, Director of Technology Partnerships at Off.Grid:Electric. “Bangladesh is an incredibly robust and well-established off-grid market, and this event was a good chance to learn more about its history, evolution, and current state of play.” Leading Bangladeshi policymakers and stakeholders attended and provided opening remarks, including Mr. Dipal Barua, President of BSREA and winner of the first Zayed Future Energy Prize; Mr. Mahmood Malik, CEO of Bangladesh’s Infrastructure Development Company Limited, whose innovative financing program sparked and has managed the country’s solar home system market; and Mr. Siddique Zobair, who leads the Bangladesh Solar and Renewable Energy Development Authority. New Global LEAP programs were also announced at the event, including two new rounds of Global LEAP Awards for high-quality, super-energy-efficient, and affordable fans and televisions, with winners to be announced in 2016 and 2017. The Awards will be tied to an innovative new results-based financing program that will incentivize distribution of the winning and finalist appliances. Mr. Sheikh Tofael Ahmed, Head of Business of Super Star Renewable Energy Ltd, an enterprise of SSG, a leading Bangladeshi conglomerate that received three of the inaugural Global LEAP Awards for its Super Star LED lighting products, said, “The Awards help assure our customers that SSG products are some of the very best products in the marketplace. We’re excited to enter the new competitions.” Another new Global LEAP program will provide critical information about off-grid appliance quality and performance to market stakeholders by creating a new, easy to use online database to aggregate and share information about off-grid appliance design, performance, and market availability. For the first time, market stakeholders will have essential market information to evaluate and compare product performance and make faster, smarter business decisions regarding off-grid appliances.