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|| Household Solar Workforce Development Challenge
|| ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) & U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
|| Financial: (Grant)
|| The Household Solar Workforce Development Challenge will award up to $350,000 in grant funding to support scalable, innovative, third-party training solutions to the off-grid solar home system sector's workforce needs in sub-Saharan Africa. USAID, as part of its commitment to the Scaling Off-Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development, is supporting the Household Solar Workforce Development Challenge run by the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN).
Off-grid solar home systems (SHS) are an emerging solution to provide access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. According to GOGLA, the off-grid solar sector globally has an estimated annual growth rate of 140% that is primarily driven by pay-as-you-go (PAYG) business models and 'plug-and-play' solar home system technology. With continued growth, the sector could support up to 1.3 million full time equivalent jobs by 2022.
Hiring and retaining qualified employees has been challenging for many SHS companies. Challenges include lack of candidates with appropriate technical and “soft skills,” lack of relevant and context-based curricula on off-grid systems at the certificate level, the inability of the sector to compete for fresh graduates with higher-paying established companies, high-performing employees being poached by competitors, and a lack of capital to invest in the continued training and professional development of current employees. Furthermore, in Africa, SHS solutions are often deployed in rural and remote areas where it can be even harder to attract and retain staff.
Third-party organizations that focus on training workers for the off-grid solar home system sector offer a viable, and potentially more efficient and effective workforce development solution, but are not yet widely supported or utilized.