Powering Opportunities Partnership – Call for Expression of Interest for Productive Energy Use action research projects in sub-Saharan Africa

March 2019

Extension of notification dates – (updated 19th March 2019)

Please note the Expression of Interest phase for this competition closed February 28th 2019. We thank all applicants for their submissions. Unfortunately we cannot accept any submissions past this deadline.

We have received a very positive response from the market in terms of numbers of Expressions of Interest received. In order to guarantee all applications are considered and reviewed in a fair manner, the original deadlines have been extended.

Please note that notification of successful/unsuccessful applicants will now be done throughout the week commencing April 15th, at which point each applicant will be notified directly via email. Subsequent deadlines for the submission of the full proposal, as well as project start dates, will also be updated accordingly and communicated to applicants this same week.


Application webinars will be held on 1st February, 12th February and 21st February at which the application process will be explained and there will be the opportunity to ask questions.

Please sign up to the webinars below:

  • 1st February, 1300-1400 GMT – Thanks to all 80 applicants who attended. Please access the recording of the webinar below.
  • 12th February, 0900-1000 GMT – Thanks to all 60 applicants who attended. Please access the recording of the webinar below.
  • 21st February, 1300-1400 GMT – Thanks to all 40 applications who attended. Please access recording of the webinar below.

Recording from previous webinars

In case you cannot attend any of the webinars, or if you would like to re-visit the contents of a previous webinar, please access via this link

Please note that in order to access the recording, users need to fill in the contact detail form first.

Competition description

This program is aimed at demonstrating how the off-grid sector can stimulate local jobs and create local economic value in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Powering Opportunities Partnerships (POP) is one of the constituent projects of TEA’s Supporting Clean Energy Partnerships programme. POP aims to demonstrate how the off-grid energy sector can stimulate local jobs and create local economic value in Sub-Saharan Africa, via a challenge fund supporting proposals that demonstrate innovation, partnerships and the potential for scalability and impact.

Our experience shows that the growth in small business activity which follows new electricity supply into a rural area, can often be disappointing.  This of course impacts the financial attractiveness, and hence scalability, of any investments to provide rural areas with higher levels of power supply. This competition is looking to support well-defined action research and learning projects, which propose novel, viable, replicable and scalable productive use interventions to drive productive energy demand to increase local economic benefit. Gathering and socializing evidence which proves that access to energy results in sustainable local development, value/incomes and job creation is key to catalysing growth in the off-grid energy sector.

A total budget of at least £675,000 has been made available in this round for grants to successful applicants. A minimum of 50% co-funding (either financial or in-kind) is a prerequisite for proposal consideration. This competition seeks to fund 3 to 4 projects. Funding to be requested from TEA-POP for each project should not exceed £300,000. Smaller expressions of interest are welcome.

The program would like to support partnerships in this field. Due to the action research and learning objectives, the proposed project should demonstrate physical activity taking place in local areas, preferably in rural communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

Some examples partnerships could include:

  • A large retail supplier sees the opportunity for increasing quality/reducing wastage by introducing local primary processing capacity, facilitated through the new electricity supply. The retailer forms a partnerships with equipment providers and finance institutions to pilot ways to support its network of small-holder farmers and aggregators to access and use the equipment needed
  • A Solar Home System provider partners with an internet service provider and a manufacturer of low-cost computers to provide affordable rural internet access for on- and off-line educational content for off-grid schools
  • Off grid energy companies coming with franchise-type “business in the box” type models that create and realise value downstream from them  (e.g. community WiFi provision amongst others).

The timeframe for this competition is as follows:

StageDescriptionDate (if applicable, time)
 EoI  EoI submission period opens10/12/2018
First round of EoI questionsLast questions to be received by: 21/01/2019Carbon Trust’s response to be expected by: 23/01/2019
Second round of EoI questionsLast questions to be received by: 18/02/2019Carbon Trust’s response to be expected by: 22/02/2019
EoI submission deadline1700 (GMT)  28/02/2019
EoI Clarification Interviews In the week commencing 11/03/2019 
Notifications to succesful/unsuccessful EoI applicantsIn the week commencing 15/04/2019