Indo-U.S PACEsetter Fund
Early stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products,system and business models
A Fund to support the "Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy"(PEACE) track of the U.S.-INDIA partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE)

Objective

The mission of the PACEsetter Fund is to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy access solutions by providing early-stage grant funding that would allow businesses to develop and test innovative products, business models and systems. The Fund's main purpose is to improve the viability of off-grid renewable energy businesses that sell small scale (under 1 megawatt) clean energy systems to individuals and communities without access to grid connected power or with limited/intermittent access . (less than 8 hours per day)

Background

Energy access is crucial for improving the quality of life for India’s citizens and their economic conditions, and 24/7 energy availability remains a priority for the Indian government. Off-grid, clean energy technologies, combined with innovative financing models, market-based solutions, and policy alignment, have tremendous potential to become a transformative agent of economic opportunity and rural development.

In 2013, the Governments of the Republic of India and the United States of America launched Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE) as a new track under the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), alongside the existing research (PACE-R) and deployment (PACE-D) tracks. PEACE aims to harness commercial enterprise to bring clean energy to individuals and communities un-served and underserved by the electricity grid. In June 2015, these governments established the PACEsetter Fund, a new joint fund to support the PEACE initiative by providing early-stage grant funding to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy products, systems, and business models.

THE PACESETTER FUND

The PACEsetter Fund is a INR 50 crore (USD 7.9 million) fund jointly capitalized by the Governments of the Republic of India and the United States of America.

The Fund will award grants for direct support of innovative technology, business models, and programs including but not limited to: rural energy services companies (full scale integrated operators); rural distribution companies/franchisees; operations/maintenance companies; technology implementers/ system integrators; and enterprises. The Fund will also consider awarding grants for product development, studies, research, capacity building and technical assistance, as long as this will provide significant support to the companies and organizations that provide small scale (under 1 MW) clean energy access solutions to individuals and communities with no or limited access to grid connected power.

Grant decisions are made by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from the Governments of India and the United States. The Steering Committee will be advised by an Executive Committee comprised of governmental and non- governmental experts from both countries. The bi-national Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), New Delhi, India is the Administrator of the Fund.

Overview of Second Funding Round

This Call for Expressions of Interest launches the second funding round of the PACEsetter Fund. Up to $2 million will be made available for this round, with grant sizes ranging from $50,000 to $300,000.

The application process will have two stages:

  • Stage 1: All applicants are invited to submit an Expression of Interest, following the guidelines outlined below.
  • Stage 2: From these initial submissions, the PACEsetter Fund Steering Committee will identify a short list of applicants who are invited to submit a detailed proposal. Guidelines for the detailed proposal will be provided at that time.

Project Eligibility

To be eligible, projects must be focused on improving the viability of off grid renewable energy businesses and organizations, under served individuals and communities in India without access to grid connected power or with limited or intermittent access less than 8 hours per day using small scale (under 1 megawatt) clean energy systems.

The Fund will award grants for direct support of innovative technology, business models, and programs including but not limited to: rural energy services companies (full scale integrated operators); rural distribution companies/franchisees; operations/maintenance companies; technology implementers/ system integrators; and enterprises.

The Fund will also consider awarding grants for product development, studies, research, capacity building and technical assistance, as long as this support will provide significant support to the companies and organizations that provide small scale (under 1 MW) clean energy systems to individuals and communities with no or limited access to grid connected power.

Projects on general public awareness, stand-alone seminars and workshops, research and development projects without a clear path towards implementation, will not be considered for funding through the PACEsetter Fund.

Funding Priorities

The following priorities will receive strong consideration in grant-making decisions:

  • Innovation: The PACEsetter Fund prioritizes innovative technologies, business models, and programs.
  • Early-stage funding: The PACEsetter Fund is focused on accelerating the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy solutions by providing early-stage grant funding that allow for the development and testing of innovative solutions.

GENERAL GUIDANCE ON PROPOSALS

The below guidance is not exhaustive, but is designed to help interested organizations to develop proposals.

  • Proposed projects should be innovative and transformational. Proposals should make clear how they are adding value and not duplicating an existing solution; multiple forms of innovation are eligible and will be considered. Proposals should also clearly illustrate how the work proposes to overcome fundamental economic, social, or technical barriers to off-grid electricity access.
  • Proposed projects should be in the early stages of development, defined broadly as the critical transition phase between concept and scale-up, where access to conventional forms of investment is limited and support from the PACEsetter Fund would be most impactful.
  • Proposals should demonstrate how they could be scaled up to have wider impact.
  • Proposals should demonstrate that the project has sufficient buy-in from all stakeholders to deliver the desired outcomes.
  • Proposals should specify if they also have funding from other sources.
  • The maximum life-cycle of a project should not exceed 24 months.
  • The Fund places strong emphasis on evidence-based results. Proposals must clearly define the indicators of success in the application form to demonstrate progress during the project lifecycle.
  • The Fund also places a strong emphasis on sharing the results. Organizations will be required to submit progress reports on regular intervals or on the achievement of key milestones for the duration of the project, and submit a project completion form within three months of the project conclusion along with the audited fund utilization certificate.

How To Apply

Downloadable Documents:

Contact Us

Dr. Chaitali Bhattacharya
Principal Science Officer
and
Ms. Aashita Apoorva
Associate Program Officer