A new call for Action Learning Project proposals will be announced in the second quarter of 2021. It will seek to fund projects with a similar profile to those selected in our first funding round.

See our Background Information document here PREO Action Learning Projects Background Information Document August 2020.pdf for more information.

Further details on the application process and timelines will be sent out via email, closer to the time, sign up to receive emails. However, we would encourage you to also keep an eye out on our website.

PREO funding applications give insight into productive use of energy trends in sub-Saharan Africa

The Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) programme has received a healthy response to its call for Action Learning Projects and Innovative Supply-chain Based Partnerships funding proposals.

PREO is supported by the IKEA Foundation and UK aid, and delivered by the Carbon Trust and Energy 4 Impact. The programme aims to boost productive electricity demand in off-grid areas of sub-Saharan Africa as a route to economic growth and job creation. Data collected from the applications provides an interesting snapshot of trends in the renewable energy market across the region.

Most notably, an overwhelming majority are seeking funding for solar energy sources (88%), powered by either stand-alone systems (64%) or mini-grids (27%). For businesses reliant on small to medium appliances, such larger power systems enable a higher consumption of energy, which is key to transforming rural economies.

Modern healthcare has also become increasingly vital during the COVID-19 pandemic so it is perhaps unsurprising that health (13%) is the third largest cluster within the pool of applicants. Whilst there is a geographical spread of applications across 29 countries, the appetite for productive use of energy in off-grid areas appears strongest in Nigeria (22%), Kenya (19%) and Uganda (10%). A majority of proposals are from applicants at the start-up stage (60%) of development which suggests funding is often needed to test productive use of energy concepts before businesses can get off the ground.

The lion’s share of the eligible 157 applications were from off-grid energy companies or power suppliers. However, the proposals received from non-energy companies, most commonly agribusinesses, are a promising sign that a wider range of private enterprises are becoming integrated into productive use and renewable energy initiatives.

Energy 4 Impact and the Carbon Trust are pleased to announce the launch of the Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) Programme, which aims to promote renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa to boost long-term job creation and reduce poverty through economic growth and empowerment of women.

Co-funded by IKEA Foundation and UK aid and delivered by the Carbon Trust and Energy 4 Impact, PREO will support energy projects and partnerships that use a market-led approach to promoting productive use of energy (PUE), and support revenue growth in the companies involved.

While a reliable and affordable energy supply is vital for people living in rural sub-Saharan Africa to power their homes and businesses, energy access alone is not enough to transform economies. To be effective rural energy programmes need to consider the social and economic context for each local area to ensure the right enabling environment exists to build partnerships that give access to finance, technology and markets.

PREO promotes direct collaboration between energy users and power suppliers to realise the potential of energy access to improve livelihoods and boost economic growth. It therefore supports locally-relevant productive use of energy initiatives through:

  • grant funding to stimulate investment and income-generating activities;
  • partnership building support to bring various actors together for specific projects and programmes;
  • offering advisory services to companies involved in PUE, including market intelligence, partnering and financing advice.

In addition, PREO aims to create a globally significant centre of PUE expertise in the sector, by developing a platform to support, direct and communicate market and project learnings, which will be key to achieve wider impact.

PREO is expected to create 3,500 jobs, empower 1,000 women and benefit more than 11,000 rural households.

By supporting PREO, the IKEA Foundation can effectively work together with other partners and investors to make renewable energy accessible to many communities more quickly, reducing carbon emissions and enabling people living in poverty to afford a better life,

says Jolanda van Ginkel, Programme Manager for Renewable Energy ,the IKEA Foundation.