International Solar Alliance launches innovation challenge in Africa


From pv magazine India

The International Solar Alliance has launched the SolarX Grand Challenge to support African entrepreneurship and innovation. The SolarX Grand Challenge aims to accelerate solar adoption by motivating innovators and researchers to provide value and much-needed innovation in the solar sector.

It will select 20 startups and innovators from countries across Africa, and will award a $300,000 cash grant to the winners. The winning entrepreneurs will undergo an acceleration program, with access to African markets.

“The SolarX Grand Challenge is part of our two-pronged strategy to ease solar deployment in Africa. Under this strategy, we are creating a Solar Facility to enable investments to flow into African countries,” said Ajay Mathur, Director General of International Solar Alliance. “Along with investments, a local pipeline of projects will simultaneously be needed.”

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The first edition of SolarX will focus on attracting investments in the solar energy sector, reducing the gap between energy demand and supply, and promoting a robust startup ecosystem in Africa.

“With an estimated potential of 7,900 GW of solar in Africa, and only four African nations having a startup ecosystem, there is a yawning gap between what is needed and what is available,” Mathur said “African startups attracted less than 1% of global venture investments. With SolarX, we aim to change this scenario.”

The SolarX Challenge will shortlist entries by April 2023 and declare winners by June 2023.

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