An increasingly diverse range of the world’s largest multinational corporations are joining socially and environmentally-minded off-grid solar start-ups and wireless-mobile telecoms operators and bringing safe, reliable and affordable emissions-free electricity to rural and urban residents across Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia and other sustainable development-minded countries around the world.
In partnership with clean energy venture capital provider Allotrope Partners, Facebook and Microsoft in February announced the launch of the Microgrid Investment Accelerator and their accompanying goal of raising $50 million of capital from 2018-2020 to be doled out in the form of grants and loans to fund projects that expand sustainable energy access in East Africa, India and Indonesia.
On June 5, Jaguar Land Rover launched “Lighting Up Lives,” an initiative that aims to bring safe and clean lighting to as many as 1.2 million off-grid East Africans. In collaboration with sustainability specialist ClimateCare, Jaguar Land Rover “commits to empowering communities with affordable technology that changes lives, giving families up to four hours more light each evening and replacing hazardous kerosene fuel.”
Creating “Night Time Sun” in East Africa
Jaguar Land Rover and ClimateCare showcased their home “solar plus storage” system at the Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts last week, where guests spent an evening of entertainment under the “Night Time Sun,” their solution provided, the global automaker highlights.
Fourteen year-old Franklin Kishsta, a student at the Kasooni School in Kalawa, Kenya, is serving as something of a spokesperson attesting to the benefits he and his family are enjoying as a result of the “Lighting Up Lives” social impact program. Living in an off-grid rural community, Franklin’s family relied on kerosene for lighting, until recently.
“I finish all of my homework now” said the boy who dreams of becoming an engineer one day, “before I could not do it at home when it was dark. I know my parents are much happier now, and so am I.”
“Lighting Up Lives”
With “Lighting Up Lives,” Jaguar Land Rover joins the growing ranks of local, mobile pay-go solar startups, communities, governments and multilateral development agencies bringing sustainable renewable energy to the millions of Sub-Saharan Africans that still lack grid access, a trend that Microgrid Media has been doing its best to cover and report on.
“Lighting up Lives is particularly relevant to Jaguar Land Rover’s own operations and commitment to a zero emissions future. It recently announced a move to 100% renewable electricity for its UK facilities and has installed the UK’s largest rooftop solar array at its Engine Manufacturing Centre in the West Midlands. It fits with an ambition to drive sustainable, innovative growth not just for the business but for communities around the world including Kalawa, Kenya,” management points out.
ClimateCare is doing its part by working with leading corporations to enhance the social and environmental, as well as economic, aspects of their businesses. “We are focused on helping corporates take responsibility for solving key global challenges – through the delivery of integrated sustainability programs with robust and measurable outcomes that benefit the world’s poorest communities, and deliver against the UN’s Global Goals. We believe businesses have a vital role to play in supporting the Global Goals and Jaguar Land Rover is an excellent example of the contribution corporates can make,” CEO Edward Hanrahan explained.
Andrew is a well seasoned and traveled freelance reporter and editor, covering the the nexus where new energy technology, markets, ecosystems and political economy intersect and overlap.