Integral Energy Systems for Off-grid Households

Pollution & Health Energy

A locally produced, innovative energy system, combining biomass, photovoltaics and "smart" technology

Project Facts

Cambodia, Lesotho, Uganda
Maseru (factory)

Project Volume
1-5 Mio. EUR

Applied Financing Solutions
Grants, Market-Rate Loans, Private Equity

Project Dates
Start: 2014
In operation since/from: 2014

The Story

African Clean Energy (ACE) is a Dutch-South African social enterprise that focuses on decentralized clean energy access for rural customers in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. At its flagship factory in Maseru, Lesotho, the company manufactures the ACE 1 Energy System, a highly efficient cookstove combined with a solar home system. It pairs thermal and electric generation to provide low-income households with a clean, smokeless cooking opportunity, while also offering access to electricity for charging and lighting. The appliance uses 50-85% less fuel than conventional cooking stoves, runs on any available biomass (including crop residue, animal waste or wooden sticks) and comes with a 12V/10W solar panel and a battery to supply the built-in forced draft fan, an included LED lamp as well as other devices such as mobile phones. The device can be purchased on a pay-as-you-save (PAYS) basis allowing customers to pay back a 6-9 month micro-loan using the average savings of more than 80% made on their monthly energy costs.

Success Factor | Hero Moment

As the device constitutes a major investment for households in the developing world, the provision of microfinancing and cooperation with women’s groups, village chiefs and in-house sales teams have been key success factors for the project. A new development stage has been reached with the newest ACE 1 model equipped with “smart” technology which enables customers to activate the system’s functions via mobile phone for certain time periods. This allows for more flexible and reliable loan repayment and at the same time offers new opportunities to e.g. monitor and quantify fuel use and emissions savings.

African Clean Energy, Netherlands

Contact Mail


Biomass, Energy Efficiency, Microfinancing, Start-up, Innovation, ADA

Terminated Emissions
138.000 tons CO2e per year

Comparable to the annual CO2 absorption of
1.104.000 trees

Hard Facts
150.000 people are benefitting directly