Past Competitions and Results
PowerGen Renewable Energy is a leading renewable energy firm in Africa, specializing in solar photovoltaics mini-grid development, construction, and operation. The challenge: How can PowerGen translate their success developing projects in Kenya and Tanzania to new markets. By analyzing the electrical infrastructure, regulatory environment, and competitive landscape, teams of students recommended how PowerGen should bring electricity to those without access in West Africa.
Winner: University of California Berkeley
M-KOPA is the world's leading 'pay-as-you-go' energy provider to off-grid homes. The company has developed a better way to provide affordable, safe and clean energy to millions of people living off the grid. Thanks to their solar and mobile technology, customers can light up their homes, charge their phones, and tune-in to the radio and television. To date, M-KOPA has connected over 500,000 homes in East Africa. Its predominantly low-income customer base is accessing lighting, phone charging, radio and television on daily mobile money payment plans whose costs are less than those costs of kerosene. Customers who complete their payment plans are upgrading with M-KOPA for more lights, televisions, energy-efficient cooking stoves, smartphones, fertilizers, and water tanks.
Winner: University of Pennsylvania
This case was provided by Cuba Strategies Inc., which examined the exciting changes taking place in Cuba’s energy landscape. Cuban energy sector stands at an inflection point. In the coming years, decisions will be made that will shape the energy infrastructure of the island country for several decades. As relations with the United States thaw, multinational firms that were previously unable to operate in Cuba will undoubtedly look to develop relationships in the new market. Therefore, public, private, non-governmental, and international actors will all be interested in the direction Cuba takes. Moreover, with so much attention to the renovation of its energy industry, Cuba could serve as a model for other developing island nations.
Winner: Johns Hopkins University
Read more about the winners' trip to Cuba here
Case provided by Off.Grid: Electric (OGE) (now ZOLA Electric), the world’s first massively scalable “solar as a service” company. Under its MPOWER brand, Off.Grid: Electric distributes high-quality lighting and energy services to communities that cannot access or afford the electrical grid. They employ local agents who specialize in matching their offerings to customer needs and providing all necessary maintenance, with the aim of making renewable energy services available to millions of households across Africa. Established in Arusha, Tanzania, Off. Grid: Electric has built a thriving business that employs hundreds of Tanzanians to serve the bottom of the pyramid. Tech and energy giants in the US are taking notice, with Off. Grid: Electric receiving investments from Solar City, Vulcan Capital, and the Omidyar Network.
Winner: Cornell University
This case was provided by Powerhive. Powerhive is a technology venture founded in 2011 focused on the financing, metering, and management of distributed solar micro-grid solutions with a proprietary technology platform and business model.
Winner: University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler School of Business
The first case was provided by Husk Power Systems, a micro-grid, bio-mass company that operates in rural locations throughout India.
Winner: Yale School of Management