Global LEAP Competition for Most Innovative Off-Grid Refrigerators Announces Open Call for Nominations

The 2016-2017 edition of the Global LEAP Competition kicked off September 2016, and nominations for this wave’s world’s most innovative off-grid cooling technologies are open till January 2017. The competition which attracts entries from all over the world, and which seeks to award three most-innovative off-grid refrigerator concepts, each with a prize of $200,000 has a new corporate player in its fold of corporate partners -The  Ideas to Impact Programme (I2I) whose involvement in this competition has recalculated this year’s competition award to a total of $600,000 USD.

The Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership  (Global LEAP) competition is an annual innovation award which seeks to spur innovation in the space of off-grid technologies in developing countries, and this year’s theme is centered on innovative off-grid cooler technologies. The competition is now accepting nominations and will incentivize the development of low-cost and efficient refrigerator technologies appropriate for communities living off the grid in developing countries.

With contributions from both USAID and the U.K. Department for International Development (DFID), each of the three innovation prizes in the competition are expected to be worth $200,000. Commercially available winners and finalists will also be eligible for participation in a new program designed to scale up clean energy access markets by incentivizing bulk procurement of outstanding off-grid appliances. 

“Off-grid refrigeration is one of the demand drivers for solar home systems and microgrids, and it holds unique potential to unlock economic and social progress for the 600 million people living off the grid in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the over 1 billion lacking electricity globally,”

said USAID Power Africa Initiative Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz. “It can enable income-generating activities, prolong the nutritional value of food, diversify diets, and reduce the time that households spend shopping or gathering food. And as the Power Africa partnership works to expand the off-grid market, efficient refrigeration at affordable prices is a key component for future growth in solar home systems and microgrids”, he added.

However, despite the technology’s commercial and development promise, the market for off-grid refrigeration is nascent, and the prevalence of refrigerators in developing countries, particularly in rural areas, still remains low. Improvements in efficiency, design, and cost are needed for the off-grid refrigeration market to reach its full potential.  “Highly energy-efficient, appropriately designed, and cost-effective refrigerators are essential to off-grid market growth and to positive impacts related to nutrition, health, and economic growth,” said Rose Mutiso, the U.S. coordinator for the Global LEAP initiative.

Through this partnership, DFID expects to incentivize innovators to come forward, and apply and refine their technologies to drive down the price and increase the efficiency of off-grid refrigeration. This is one of many investments DFID and other Global LEAP partners are making to support innovation in low-cost, high-quality, efficient off-grid appliances.

This call for nominations is part of the 2016–2017 Global LEAP Awards’ Program, an international competition that identifies and promotes the world’s best, most energy-efficient, and most innovative off-grid appliances, and is also the first investment focused on stimulating innovation under the new $36 million Scaling Off-Grid Energy: A Grand Challenge for Development initiative. See more on Cleanleap here

To learn more about the Global LEAP Awards and affiliated programs, visit