Global Leap: Lighting and Energy Access Partnership



  • Global LEAP works to catalyze markets through support for quality assurance frameworks, which build consumer and investor confidence.
  • Global LEAP works to encourage market transformation toward the best, most-efficient off-grid energy service technologies through its Awards programs.
  • Global LEAP works to facilitate collaboration among donors in the off-grid lighting and energy access space.

For more information, view the Global LEAP activities page, fact sheet, or guiding principles.


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This Initiative has transitioned out of the Clean Energy Ministerial as of May 2019. To follow its work, please visit:

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The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP), the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM’s) energy access initiative, works to catalyze the development of commercial markets for energy access solutions, as laid out in the Global LEAP guiding principles.

More than 1 billion people lack access to electricity and the basic services electricity provides; donor aid is inadequate to meet this enormous need. The public sector’s role must be to encourage market development and catalyze private-sector delivery of energy services, which can be achieved through efforts to build consumer and investor awareness and confidence. The success of this approach has been demonstrated in Global LEAP’s creation of a quality assurance framework for solar lighting devices and the subsequent remarkable growth in the solar lighting device market. Sales are growing more than 100% per year, and the market share of quality-assured devices now exceeds 40%.

Global LEAP was launched at the third Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM3) as a commitment within the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All campaign and represents an expansion of the CEM’s energy access efforts to include partners beyond CEM governments. Global LEAP builds on (and replaced) the CEM’s original energy access initiative, known as the Solar and LED Energy Access Initiative, or SLED.

The program builds on and extends foundational work carried out through the joint International Finance Corporation (IFC)- and World Bank–led Lighting Africa initiative. Over time, Global LEAP has expanded the scope of its activities to encompass efforts to enhance the efficiency of the direct current (DC)-powered appliances designed for use in an off-grid context (e.g., using home-based electricity systems, often powered by a solar panel on the roof, or community-level DC power via minigrids).

In looking for energy access solutions, much attention is paid to the supply side; however, more attention needs to be paid to the demand side. The use of super-efficient appliances—lights, televisions, fans, etc.—in the off-grid context can maximize the utility gained from the same amount of power. For example, a 40-watt solar panel can power a 25-watt incandescent light for almost five hours a day. However, if the latest high-efficiency appliances are used, the same system can power two brighter light-emitting diode (LED) lights for the same five hours while also powering a color television, a fan, a mobile phone charger, and a radio for more than three hours per day.

Key Accomplishments

Global LEAP launched the Outstanding Off-Grid Appliance Awards to help build sustainable markets for energy-efficient off-grid appliances. The inaugural awards identified the world’s best, most energy-efficient off-grid color televisions and LED room-lighting appliances. The quality-assured products will help create and sustain demand for technologies such as off-grid solar and make the most of the limited electricity that may be available to off-grid households and businesses.

Key activities

  • Through its Outstanding Off-Grid Appliance Awards, the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) is helping to build sustainable markets for energy-efficient off-grid appliances. The quality-assured products will help create and sustain demand for technologies such as off-grid solar and make the most of the limited electricity that may be available to off-grid households and businesses.
  • Global LEAP supported the development of a global standard for solar light-emitting diode (LED) lanterns within the framework of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The new standard (IEC TS 62257-9-5) represents an important step that enables governments to harmonize their national standards with this international standard and will help pave the way for market expansion of quality-assured devices. The IEC has agreed to make the standard accessible to small and mid-sized enterprises in the energy access space at a discounted rate. Global LEAP is engaged with the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All effort to encourage the 70 “opt-in” governments to adopt the IEC standard for solar lanterns as a minimum standard in their markets.
  • Global LEAP is working with the Power Africa initiative to highlight the critical role of energy efficiency as an enabler of energy access.
  • Global LEAP continues to work to catalyze commercial markets, including by providing tools and resources to private-sector and civil society entities that deliver energy access solutions to unelectrified and under-electrified communities.
  • Global LEAP continues to support development of a network of qualified test laboratories, including two in India—one at The Energy and Resources Institute and another at India’s Solar Energy Center.


  • The inaugural Global LEAP Outstanding Off-Grid Appliance Awards identified the world’s best, most energy-efficient off-grid color televisions and LED room-lighting appliances.
  • Global LEAP worked with partners at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Germany’s GIZ to convene a meeting of companies and development agencies to discuss the best roles for public-sector entities looking to support last-mile delivery of off-grid solar products. The meeting was held in Addis Ababa in December 2013; a summary is available.
  • Through support provided to Lighting Africa, Global LEAP has helped enable the sale of more than 5.5 million quality-assured off-grid lighting systems in Africa since the program began in 2009, benefitting more than 10 million individuals in more than 30 countries.
  • Global LEAP’s work to increase quality standards includes sponsoring research and analysis on developing a quality seal for off-grid lighting devices and supporting the development of the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA), an industry association that provides a framework for stakeholder engagement.

Policy opportunities

  • Reliable lighting is essential for bringing people out of poverty. The International Energy Agency estimates that 1.4 billion people—20 percent of the world’s population—did not have access to electricity in 2009. Some 85 percent of those people live in rural areas.
  • Improved lighting provides significant socioeconomic, health, and environmental benefits, such as new income generation opportunities for small businesses, longer and better illumination for studying, extended productive hours in the home, and reduced indoor air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Energy access is one of three pillars of the United Nations’ Year of Sustainable Energy for All (2012). More information on the Year of Sustainable Energy for All is available at
  • Fuel-based (kerosene) lighting accounts for 0.5 percent of annual fossil fuel emissions. If Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership lighting were to eliminate the need for one-third of this demand, it would prevent 10 megatons (MT) of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or 100 MT over 10 years. Assuming that each lantern costs approximately US$20, the full cost of a program to achieve these goals over 10 years would be US$50 million, or US$0.50 per ton of carbon dioxide avoided.