Updated Jun 5, 2018

How to finance expanded access to off-grid solar power

A man adjusts a solar panel on his roof in Kwa-Mutisya, Kenya. Across the continent people are opting for off-grid solar solutions. Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

For the more than 1 billion people without reliable electricity access, advances in off-grid solar (OGS) solutions present significant promise: A recent World Bank report showed that by 2017 the global OGS sector was providing improved energy access to an estimated 73 million households.

Yes, but: Half of the projected $5.7 billion for OGS to hit its full potential from 2017 to 2022 still needs to be raised. While established multilateral and commercial financiers are expected to partially fill this gap, new financial innovations that tap less traditional investors also show strong potential to help meet the sectorโ€™s growing needs.

Financial innovations such as pay-as-you-go business models have combined with falling photovoltaic-cell costs to open funding channels on terms acceptable to newer investors. This financing offers growing OGS companies the resources to expand their activities and increase customer access.

The details: Several features make the OGS market particularly suited to today's financial services innovations (e.g., blockchain, cryptocurrencies, crowdfunding, receivables securitization, data-enabled lending):

  • Newer technology and business models deployed by startups that lack track records or collateral
  • Smaller transaction sizes with multiple parties
  • Typically unmonetized social impacts (e.g., energy access and zero emissions)
  • Decentralized, remote providers and low-income customers
  • Large transaction data volumes
  • Limited financial infrastructure in OGS markets, requiring new models to finance market entry
  • Multiple companies beyond top firms that are needed to serve more customers

What's next: Many private, government and multilateral stakeholders are piloting these financial innovations in the OGS market. This summer, the World Bank will release a study with the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance assessing these efforts and suggesting ways to scale moving forward.

Jonathan Coony is global lead for green competitiveness at the World Bank Group.

Go deeper

America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 โ€” while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Health

Axios Dashboard

Keep up with breaking news throughout the day โ€” sign up for our alerts.

Keep ReadingArrowUpdated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy