SolarX Grand Challenge aims to crowdsource implementable, cost-effective, scalable, and innovative solutions to some of the persistent challenges faced by the solar energy sector of the member countries. The first edition is focused on the African region, aiming to promote innovation and discover local solutions, with the over-arching objective of capacity building. The SolarX Grand Challenge will address a three-fold benefit for the African region:
- Promotion of the solar energy sector
- Thinning of the gap of the energy crisis in Africa
- Promotion of a strong startup ecosystem in Africa
- Operation Duration: Must be a maximum of 10 years – calculated from incorporation date until public nominations open
- Revenue: Participant must be generating monthly revenue from operations
- Innovation: Should have a minimum viable product and/or service explicitly related to innovation
The broad areas for problem statements include:
- Technical and financial innovations to accelerate the deployment of off-grid solar applications (mini-grids and SHS) to displace diesel, charcoal or traditional biomass
- Development of more efficient models having high scalability potential and enhancing cost competitiveness (including life cycle costs) for solar drying, solar water heating, solar cooking or other similar productive use applications
- Technical and/or business model innovations to bring down the cost of, or support grid integration for rooftop solar systems
- Innovative solutions combining use of solar with other applications (e.g.AgriPV) to save land and boost small holder family incomes
- Manufacturing innovations (deployment or integration) to lower the cost or improve efficiency/efficacy of solar or ancillary equipment in target markets
- Innovative business models of solar power to emerging use cases such as eMoblity, green Hydrogen, round-the-clock power, battery waste management etc.
- Development of soft tools based on AI, IOT to improve the manufacturing, deployment or integration of solar energy applications
- Development of eco-system in terms of manufacturing of balance of system components, such as, high efficiency inverters, glass cover options for modules to maintain high transmittance and reduce use of water in cleaning, EVA sheets, etc.
- Development of high efficiency DC pumps with smart controller having potential for scalability and practical business models for dissemination
- Services or softwares which help in land mapping e.g. geo-spatial drones
The winners will be incentivized through two modes:
- International Solar Alliance (ISA): The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an action-oriented, member-driven, collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies as a means for bringing energy access, ensuring energy security, and driving energy transition in its member countries. The ISA was conceived as a joint effort by India and France to mobilize efforts against climate change through the deployment of solar energy solutions. Currently, the ISA has 9 comprehensive programs, each focusing on a distinct application that could help scale the deployment of solar energy solutions. Activities under the program focus on 4 priority areas – Analytics & Advocacy, Capacity Building, Programmatic Support, and readiness and enabling activities, that help create a favourable environment for solar energy investments to take root in the country.
- Children Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF): Children’s Investment Fund Foundation is an independent philanthropic organisation, working with a range of partners seeking to transform the lives of children and adolescents. CIFF programmes are designed to support bold ideas to solve seemingly intractable problems. As a private philanthropy focused on systemic change, CIFF takes on tough problems that others cannot, and invest for the long term. The portfolio is regularly rebalanced away from interventions that seek to optimise the status quo, towards investments with transformative potential.
- Invest India: Invest India is the National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency of India with experience in delivering projects of national and international importance. These projects aim to drive the socio-economic development of the target section. Invest India has been assisting the Government of India as a program monitoring unit since its inception hence the targeted outcome has never been profit-making rather larger socio-economic well-being is paramount. Invest India is the most awarded investment promotion agency in the world and is the elected President of the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (WAIPA), headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland aiming to create a global collaborative environment for direct investment.
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