The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is set to fund off-grid solar projects in sub-Saharan Africa to the tune of $4 million, the agency has announced.

Matching funds will be made available under the Scaling Off-Grid Energy initiative. The scheme will award grants between $500,000 and $1.5 million to startup companies across the residential solar value chain.

Applicants ‘should be developing and scaling innovative solutions that will have broad reach across the sub-Saharan household solar market with the potential for high market impact,’ USAID said.

To qualify, aspiring project developers must have already raised at least twice the amount of funding requested from USAID from private investors. Locally owned and operated firms, and firms owned by women, will be given preference.   

The initiative aims to address the barriers to capital access faced by off-grid project developers.