ECREEE in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) conducted the first ever international conference on off-grid renewable energy, from 1- 2 November 2012, in Accra, Ghana.

The conference was attended by more than 350 participants from 80 countries, 30 of which were African countries.  These participants were drawn particularly from ministries and agencies in charge of renewable energy development and rural electrification, the academia, regional and non-governmental organizations, development organizations and lending institutions.

The conference provided a platform for dialogue among stakeholders of rural electrification, with a special focus on the African continent. With speakers from 23 different countries, the conference provided an opportunity to exchange ideas, knowledge and experiences on conditions for successful rural electrification programmes. Discussions focused mainly on the policy, regulatory and financing conditions necessary for up-scaling the deployment of renewable energy technologies for rural electrification.

The outcome from the deliberations was a consensus that off-grid renewable energy technologies have the potential to close the energy gap through decentralized power grids, thereby achieving the objectives of rural electrification. Agencies in charge of rural electrification where advised to consider strongly off-grid renewable energy as a strategy for rural electrification.

Secondly, it was agreed that without enabling regulatory frameworks in place scaling up rural electrification will be difficult to achieve. Having in place the right regulatory framework was considered to be the most important factor in expanding rural electrification.

In addition to this, African governments were advised to work towards raising awareness on the benefits of off-grid renewable technologies particularly in income generation through its application for productive uses.  Further to this, capacity building of the main stakeholders in the value chain was pinpointed as a necessary catalyst in rural electrification through off-grid renewables; the target groups include public institutions, financing agencies, communities and the private sectors.

Organized in parallel with the conference was an exhibition on products, projects and technologies for off-grid renewable energies.