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New Competitions for World’s Best Off-Grid Appliances Announced at White House Forum

Global LEAP Awards speed super-efficient, quality-assured off-grid televisions and fans to fast-emerging clean energy markets

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Washington, October 22, 2015 – Today, the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) opened the 2015–16 Global LEAP Outstanding Off-Grid Appliance Awards, an international competition to identify and promote the world's highest-quality, most energy-efficient off-grid appliances. This year’s competition will focus on off-grid televisions and fans, two appliance product categories with strong off-grid consumer demand. Global LEAP announced the competition at a White House Forum entitled “Catalyzing Markets for Off-Grid Clean Energy Access.”

Quality-assured and highly energy efficient off-grid appliances are essential to support and expand markets for off-grid clean energy solutions. They provide the modern services that energy-poor consumers demand and make the most of limited off-grid electricity supplies. 

“High-quality, super-efficient appliances help to drive the off-grid clean energy market, and access to clean energy drives major global development impacts,” said the U.S. Department of Energy’s Caroline McGregor, Global LEAP initiative lead. “We’re thrilled to see so many industry leaders investing in these important and rapidly emerging markets.” 

According to the International Energy Agency, access to energy plays a strong role in poverty eradication, reducing infant mortality, improving education, ameliorating gender inequality, attaining environmental sustainability, and accelerating global economic growth and prosperity. And the rapidly growing global off-grid market for clean energy products represents a major emerging commercial opportunity. Recent estimates suggest the market will soon reach $4 billion per year. 

Many off-grid product manufacturers that participated in the inaugural Global LEAP Awards for LED lighting and televisions in 2014 are committed to nominating products for these new competitions. They also note the positive impact of the Global LEAP Awards on their businesses. “The Global LEAP Awards are one of the best, most productive energy access programs I’ve seen,” said Gary Bernhardt, CEO of Sola Home Appliances, which won two 2014 Global LEAP Awards for televisions. “Participating [in the previous Awards] led to important new customer and investor relationships for my company.” 

Eleven leading off-grid companies and major appliance manufacturers have already committed to nominating more than 30 appliances for the 2015–16 Global LEAP Awards: Barefoot Power, BBOXX, d.light, fosera, Maks Renewable Energy Co. Ltd., Niwa Solar, Omnivoltaic Power Co. Ltd., Sola Home Appliances, Inc., Solageo, SSG, and Superfan

At today’s forum, the U.S. Department of Energy—on behalf of Global LEAP, Energising Development (EnDev), CLASP, and the International Financial Corporation—formally announced an innovative new off-grid market acceleration program that will amplify the impact of the Global LEAP Awards. Using results-based financing incentives, the program will encourage off-grid energy companies in key markets to make large purchases of best-in-class Global LEAP Award-winning and finalist appliances and sell them to off-grid consumers. 

“Highly efficient LED lights enabled explosive growth in the solar lighting market, and super-efficient appliances will be catalytic in enabling solar-based systems to deliver more of the services that people living without access to a reliable electric grid demand,” said Russell Sturm, who leads the International Finance Corporation’s Lighting Global initiative. “We expect innovations in super-efficient DC TVs, fans, refrigerators and other appliances to enable millions to climb the modern energy ladder.” 

The Global LEAP Awards are an initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Global LEAP initiative and are sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. CLASP serves as the Awards program’s operating agent. 

Nominations for the Global LEAP Awards are due 15 January 2016. Product manufacturers and others may visit to access complete information about the Global LEAP Awards competitions. 

Media Contact:
Matt Jordan, CLASP, +1.650.283.8352,  
Clean Energy Ministerial Secretariat, +1 202.586.4131,  

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