The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) strives to help its Member countries formulate long-term capacity-building responses that can be integrated into national policies and processes. As the leading advocate of renewable energy across the world, IRENA is in a unique position to accelerate and sustain renewable energy in industrialised and developing countries. It fulfils this role by acting as the global voice for the industry and the main port of call for developing countries seeking advice, as well as by providing an information and network hub for national, regional and global programmes. In recent months, IRENA has held consultations with Member countries to ensure it better responds to their needs.
In April 2015, IRENA and ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) established an ECOWAS Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility, the aim of which is to provide “mentorship” support and advisory assistance to small and medium-sized renewable energy (particularly Solar PV) entrepreneurs on matters related to technical issues (system sizing, installation guidelines, etc.), business management and operations, and project proposal refinement, as well as supporting entrepreneurs to successfully bring their innovative ideas to fruition. The Facility is based at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In July 2015, the Facility was expanded using funding from the Luxembourg Government and a second component is now housed at the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI) in Praia, Cabo Verde. The Facility has a Technical and a Steering Committee; the Technical Committee evaluates applications for assistance submitted by ECOWAS-based entrepreneurs, while the Steering Committee provides direction and assesses the quality of work undertaken. Both committees are made up of funding organisations, regional NGOs, financial institutions and representatives from regional associations for solar entrepreneurs.
Following the successful implementation of the Facility programme in the ECOWAS region, IRENA together with the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency launched the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility in April 2017.
A regional kick-off workshop for the implementation of the Facility and an advisory board meeting were organised by IRENA in partnership with SACREEE in November 2017 in Port Louis, Mauritius. Participants discussed the most pertinent issues to be addressed in promoting entrepreneurs and the modalities of implementing Facility in the region. A consultative meeting for the Facility was held on 24 October 2018 in Windhoek, Namibia, in which the stakeholders discussed the Facility’s activities as well as the expected outcomes in the next two years.
Read the report Scaling up renewable energy deployment in Africa to find the impact of IRENA's engagement with the region.
Accelerating Off-grid Renewable Energy: Key Findings and Recommendations from IOREC 2016
The business case for off-grid renewables as a means to expand rural electricity access keeps growing stronger, thanks to steady cost reductions and technological innovation. Yet further accelerating the growth of either mini-grid or stand-alone solutions will depend also on stable policies and regulations, along with dedicated funds and de-risking instruments for renewables.