Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) open call 2023/2024

Deadline: 31 January 2024

Applications are now open for PREO to support innovative Productive Uses of Renewable Energy (PURE) in sub-Saharan Africa. This year’s open call will accept applications from enterprises that have innovative PURE business models in sub-Saharan Africa in numerous areas including solar water pumping for irrigation, cold storage for food, agro processing of crops (e.g., milling, drying, oil press), electric mobility for taxi drivers and fishing boats, and more. These can be start-ups at advanced concept stage or operational small and medium-sized enterprises.


The Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) programme is a demand-led, productive use of renewable energy (PURE) programme stimulating partnerships, innovation and learning to address the needs and improve the livelihoods of sub-Saharan African, Asia and the Indo-Pacific communities. PREO’s mission is to help businesses harness clean energy to improve incomes, build climate resilience and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Since 2019, PREO has been supported by the IKEA Foundation and UK aid via the Transforming Energy Access platform and delivered by the Carbon Trust and Mercy Corps Energy 4 Impact. As of April 2023, PREO had funded 34 grants to private sector and non-profit enterprises across 11 African countries.

PREO also provides technical assistance through the PREO Technical Assistance Facility to help innovators execute PURE-related initiatives and enterprise development, and to improve their activities’ viability, efficacy, and local impact. We draw on our pool of experts involved in the Transforming Energy Access platform to address key knowledge gaps and offer advice.

Priority sectors

Applicants should focus on the use of renewable energy for cooling (refrigeration and freezing), drying, egg incubation, irrigation, milk chilling, oil press, pulping, milling, grinding, food processing, and more.

Applicants should focus on the use of renewable energy for activities including making garments, retail cooking, transport (commercial or personal transport).

Applicants should focus on the use of renewable energy in areas including ICT, health, education, street lighting,

E-Waste Recycling
Applicants should focus on the use of renewable energy technology (e.g. batteries, solar home systems) for the recycling of electronics and technology.

Energy sources
Energy sources should be renewable for example biogas, geothermal, hydropower, solar PV, solar thermal, wind power.

Geographic scope

PREO will only accept applications from sub-Saharan Africa in this funding cycle. See full list on application.

Funding Information

Our Call for Applications welcomes submissions from sub-Saharan Africa for PURE enterprises or concepts requesting PREO catalytic grants of up to $300,000 in value for a duration of two years.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The applicant must be from one of the countries mentioned in the geographic scope.
  • The enterprise must propose a business model or concept centred around the productive use of renewable energy sources as described in the energy sources section.
  • Applicants must clearly outline their business model including co-financing opportunities, the novelty of the concept or business model, how the grant will enhance job creation and promote gender inclusion, equity ownership including local ownership and involvement of local manufacturing, and the expected emission reduction.

How to apply

First step: Download and complete Excel application form
(Excel application form updated 2/1/2024 to accommodate stipulated character limit – please use this version going forward).

Second step: Open the online Google form, complete all questions, and upload all required supporting documents (outlined in the Google form)

Third step: Finally, upload the completed Excel form into the online Google form and hit submit

(All supporting documents and the Excel application form should be uploaded at one time via the online Google form) 

For more information:


Guidance note

Information to note:

To submit your application form, a Google Gmail account is required – Create a Gmail account – Gmail Help (google.com)

Once submitted applicants will receive an automatically generated response confirming receipt of the application.

Applicants are encouraged to carefully read the Grant Application Guidance Note prior to applying and refer to this FAQ document as needed.

Review Criteria

The applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  1. Novelty of the business model: Is the business model highly innovative or has it been in existence for a long time?
  2. Alignment of the business model to the call: Is the model demonstrated the core business model for the applicant, and is it scalable and sustainable?
  3. Ability of the business to catalyse capital: Does the business have scope to attract private capital?
  4. Job creation: Does the business model open opportunities in job creation?
  5. Avoided emissions: Does the business model contribute to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions?
  6. Gender inclusion: Does the business model promote greater gender inclusion? E.g., job creation for women
  7. Local ownership and manufacturing: Does the business have local ownership, and does it involve local manufacturing?

Available resources

For more information about PREO, please visit the website www.preo.org/about/

Contact In case you have questions or if you would like additional information, please contact contact@preo.org