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Beyond Lighting: Off-Grid Appliance & Clean Energy System Market PlugFest

A first-of-its-kind off-grid appliance and clean energy system “PlugFest” will be held at the fifth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM5) in Seoul on 13 May 2014. Organized by the Clean Energy Ministerial in partnership with the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE), the event will bring together low-voltage DC appliance manufacturers, off-grid solar home system (SHS) companies, and other energy access professionals to share best practices, and test appliance-system interoperability—a key challenge facing the off-grid lighting market. 

The off-grid appliance and low-voltage clean energy system market is growing rapidly, and it holds the promise of reaching and transforming millions of households throughout the developing world. According to Dalberg Global Development Advisors, approximately 120 million off-grid base-of-pyramid (BOP) households and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are currently in a position to purchase an off-grid appliance/SHS bundle. With changing demographics and falling prices for LED lights and solar systems, another 100 million households and SMEs are expected to enter the market by 2020. 

The improved interoperability of DC appliances and systems will be necessary to support market growth. Currently, DC connectors and jacks vary widely across SHS configurations. For example, among the 14 SHS companies featured in the Global LEAP Off-Grid Solar Home System Market GuidePDF, at least 8 different DC connector types are used. This lack of harmonization significantly hampers new market entry by appliance manufacturers, and the benefits of scale, cost, and growth that come with open, competitive markets.

DC appliance manufacturers, SHS companies, and DC mini- or micro-grid developers are invited to attend the PlugFest event on 13 May. For queries and sponsorship opportunities, contact GlobalLEAP@hq.doe.gov. 


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