A More Integrative Approach Needed to Realise Global Energy Access Goals

Despite these successes and promises of the 11 off-grid appliances assessed by Efficiency for Access in their Solar Appliance Technology Briefs, none are close to market saturation. Cross-cutting barriers identified include affordability, availability and the broader enabling environment. Without inclusive finance options, the gap between sales and market potential will persist.

Despite the critical role of appliances in enabling energy access, new comprehensive research by Efficiency for Access finds that no solar appliances are close to reaching market saturation. A more integrative approach to energy access is needed to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 and ensure that people have the appliances they need to reap the benefits of energy access fully.

The off-grid solar market has grown dramatically in the past four years. Leading solar companies reported total global sales of approximately 1.15 million units of TVs, fans, refrigerators and SWPs in 2019. Despite this progress, there still exists a significant gap between current sales and the potential market size.

To take stock of this burgeoning market, Efficiency for Access published the 2021 Solar Appliance Technology Briefs and overarching Synthesis Report. These documents identify the latest market trends and pathways to scale for 11 off-grid appropriate appliances and enabling technologies.

"The Solar Appliance Technology Briefs and Synthesis Report is the culmination of four years of Efficiency for Access research aimed to characterise the solar appliance market. It was a collaborative effort with various sector partners, ranging from sales data collection with GOGLA to end-to-end impact measurement with 60 Decibels. The synthesis report distils insights and learnings from research across the Coalition and presents recommendations to accelerate the trajectory of this fast-moving and impactful market", says Jenny Corry Smith, Manager of the Low-Energy Inclusive Appliances Programme, the flagship program of Efficiency for Access. 

The reports reveal that energy efficiency has been an essential driver in energy access delivery, but additional market considerations must be accounted for growth to continue. A review of crucial barriers to appliances achieving market saturation finds that affordability, availability and the broader enabling environment hinder the market growth. 

To get more appliances in the hands of consumers, we need to improve affordability through more inclusive finance, improve consumer awareness via campaigns, increase the availability of products through more robust supply chains and improve product quality through quality assurance and policy. As countries look to increase their resilience to climate change, many nations are looking toward solar as a solution.

The 2021 Solar Appliance Technology Briefs and Synthesis were authored by CLASP and the Energy Saving Trust, Co-Secretariat to the Efficiency for Access Coalition. The documents were funded by UK aid and the IKEA foundation.


Efficiency for Access is a global coalition working to promote high performing appliances that enable access to clean energy for the world's poorest people. It is a catalyst for change, accelerating the growth of off-grid appliance markets to boost incomes, reduce carbon emissions, improve quality of life and support sustainable development.

Efficiency for Access consists of 15 Donor Roundtable Members, 12 Programme Partners, and more than 30 Investor Network members. Current Efficiency for Access Coalition members have programmes and initiatives spanning 44 countries and 22 key technologies. The Efficiency for Access Coalition is coordinated jointly by CLASP, an international appliance energy efficiency and market development specialist not-for-profit organisation, and Energy Saving Trust, which specialises in energy efficiency product verification, data and insight, advice and research.

Featured Product

​Stäubli Electrical Connectors

​Stäubli Electrical Connectors

​Stäubli Electrical Connectors are used on more than 300 GW, over 50% of the PV capacity worldwide. The MC4 family of UL and TUV listed products include connectors, in-line fuses, branch connectors, cable assembly and more.