In Uganda, USADF and Power Africa Partners Announce Winners in Latest Off-Grid Energy Challenge

Kampala, Uganda - USADF Off-Grid Challenge Winners left to right: OneLamp, Green Heat and GRS Commodities

Kampala, Uganda - USADF Off-Grid Challenge Winners left to right: OneLamp, Green Heat and GRS Commodities

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) announces the Off-Grid Energy Challenge winners in Uganda, where more than 84% of the population lacks access to electricity [1]. Green Heat, OneLamp, and GRS Commodities will each receive grants of up to $100,000 for their renewable energy enterprises. Derrick Hosea, founder and CEO of OneLamp and winner in the latest round of funding, said, “USADF values Africans and our enterprising spirit. They invest in Africa, by Africans – and that sets them apart from other development agencies.” The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is part of Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative, which aims to drive private investment in off-grid and small scale renewable energy solutions. With seed capital and technical assistance, USADF grants catalyze energy entrepreneurs using innovative solutions to bridge the energy poverty gap in Uganda. 


  • Green Heat Limited will install 20 biogas digesters to pasteurize and chill milk on farms in the Teso region of Eastern Uganda. Many residents of the Teso Region of Eastern Uganda rely on farming and livestock for their livelihoods, and milk production is a major contributor, currently dominated by rural small-scale farmers who own 90% of the cattle. These farmers suffer from significant product loss because most of the milk is sold unprocessed and raw, which leads to losses of up to 27% due to spoilage before the milk reaches the end user. By installing biogas digesters on farmland, Green Heat will enable farmers to use the manure from their own livestock to power milk pasteurization and cooling equipment. A byproduct of the biogas digesters will be fertilizer production, which farmers can sell locally. This will serve to strengthen the dairy value chain and reduce poverty through environmentally sustainable economic growth.
  • OneLamp Limited will create a mobile phone platform that allows rural households to purchase solar products, which can be delivered directly to their door. Electrification across Uganda is very low, especially in rural areas, with many Ugandans relying on paraffin candles, kerosene lamps, and fossil fuels for lighting. There are currently many companies that manufacture renewable energy products, but they rely on limited distribution networks to reach potential off-grid customers. OneLamp Limited’s mobile phone platform will allow low-income, off-grid households to access an on-demand service for clean energy products that can be delivered to their doorstep. OneLamp will use the existing transportation infrastructure to enable them to reach customers that other companies can’t.
  • GRS Commodities Limited will install an additional 40 kilowatts of solar generation capacity on the Ssese Islands of Lake Victoria. The Ssese Islands are home to 4,000 people who lack access to mainland infrastructure and electricity. The local community relies heavily on fossil fuel for light and cooking, and while some have benefited from a pilot phase of a 10-kilowatt micro-grid on the island operational, it is not sufficient for delivering power to the entire community. By adding an additional 100 households and 50 more businesses, the project will increase access to local and sustainable sources of electricity, foster business creation, and improve household income by providing energy that can be purchased for less than the price of fossil fuels currently being used. GRS plans to use their revenues for its future growth and scale-up throughout the Ssese Islands.

The U.S. African Development Foundation is the only federal agency dedicated entirely to Africa, and solely funding 100% African-owned businesses and African entrepreneurs. USADF aims to promote innovative solutions that increase access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power – particularly for Africans who will have little to no access to grid power. Shari Berenbach, former USADF President and a champion of the Off-Grid Challenge, said, “By catalyzing African energy entrepreneurs with working capital and technical support, USADF seeks to ensure many of these populations will have access to more affordable, off grid and renewable energy.” These energy entrepreneurs are finding solutions to power the needs of rural communities including solar-powered mini-grids, home solar systems, and solar cold storage.

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), a public corporation in the U.S. federal government, funds African-owned enterprises, cooperatives and community-based organizations to build capacity and expand economic activities. In 19 countries with over 350 project grants, USADF is benefiting more than a million and a half Africans. USADF operates as the only U.S. agency exclusively centered on an African led, grassroots development model to create pathways to prosperity for underserved communities. For more information, go to

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In 2013, President Obama launched Power Africa, an innovative partnership of private sector partners, African governments, public funders, and technical institutions to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 600 million people currently lack access. Two years after its launch, Power Africa has helped transactions that are expected to generate over 4,300 megawatts of new, cleaner power to reach financial close. Power Africa is our signal to African governments, citizens, businesses, and the world that we are committed to working with our African partners to remove the obstacles that stand in the way of opportunity. Through the power of partnership, we can and will ensure a brighter future for all. See what we’ve already accomplished and join us:

CONTACT: Julia L. Tanton
Telephone: +1 202-233-8811 | Email: | Twitter: @USADF


[1] “World Development Indicators: Electricity production, sources, and access,” The World Bank, 2012