London — The UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, is offering 20m pounds of UK aid funding to develop and demonstrate innovative solutions for clean, affordable and secure energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or South East Asia.

The competition, Energy Catalyst round 8 – which is open now and runs until September 16th – seeks to encourage the development of products and services that help countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, South East Asia or multiple regions access secure, low cost and low carbon energy.

They must be targeted at people, public services and local enterprises who are unable to afford or access existing solutions, or who lack the time or expertise to successfully use those solutions.

The Energy Catalyst’s mission is to accelerate the innovation needed to end energy poverty. By providing financial and advisory support to innovators we help create strategic partnerships, uncover insights and develop business models to improve lives in Africa and Asia. The challenges of energy poverty include:

– over 1 billion people do not have access to electricity

– over 3 billion people rely on solid fuels and kerosene for cooking and heating

– grid based systems face economic and governance barriers

– vast majority (80%) of those gaining access to electricity worldwide are in urban areas

Funding is available through Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). To be eligible projects must address: