Energy Catalyst round 8: clean energy access (3 funding strands)

Apply for a share of up to £20m across 3 strands for clean, affordable and secure energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or South East Asia.

Opportunity Details


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Project sizes: feasibility projects: £50k-£300k, industrial research £50k-£1.5m, experimental development £50k-£5m. Up to 70% of project costs covered depending on company size.


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The aim of this competition is to support highly innovative, market-focused energy solutions in any technology or sector.

Your project must 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.

Your proposal must also address all 3 elements of the energy ‘trilemma’:

  • cost
  • emissions
  • security of supply and energy access

The Energy Catalyst Programme is open to any energy technology from any sector. However, to be in scope for round 8 your project must address the following 3 subjects:

  • Energy access.
  • The energy ‘trilemma’.
  • Gender and social inclusion.

DFID is providing up to £5 million of funding in this competition. Although DFID is willing to consider funding any technology which meets the above criteria, up to £3 million will be prioritised for projects specifically for energy storage.

DFID is also particularly interested in supporting projects in the areas of:

  • modern cooking
  • sustainable cooling
  • next generation solar
  • efficient and productive appliances
  • technologies and business models which help leave no-one behind

However, DFID will consider outstanding projects in other areas.

Your project could focus on, for example:

  • making new solutions more affordable
  • integrating technologies in new systems or business models to help unlock finance and deployment
  • developing technologies or partnership business models that address other barriers to deployment, such as skills required to develop or maintain technologies
  • unlocking under-served market segments that existing solutions are not reaching at scale, such as rural areas, frontier markets or specific energy end-users

There are 3 options to apply into this competition. These are referred to as strands and will be run in parallel. The strands are dependent on the stage your project is at:

Early stage for feasibility studies. Project size £50k-£300k. Up to 70% of costs can be covered. International organisations must partner with a UK registered administrative lead. If you are a UK SME, you can apply on your own. For more details, click here.

Mid-stage for industrial research. Project size £50k-£1.5m. Up to 70% of costs can be covered. Projects must be collaborative. For more details, click here.

Late stage for experimental development. Project size £50k-£5m. Up to 45% of costs can be covered. Projects must be collaborative. For more details, click here.


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