A woman on Seachar's stove project in Costa Rica

Photograph courtesy Seattle Biochar Working Group

Innovative Energy Solutions

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

The grant program highlights innovative efforts addressing these issues and seeks to help leaders navigate the difficulties of early-stage entrepreneurship. The grant program has a global focus, yet aims to highlight solutions for a specific country or community. These promising endeavors make strides toward alleviating energy poverty, developing new technology and/or identifying the greatest potential for large energy gains.

The Great Energy Challenge grant program supports the following grantees:

  • A sugar palm energy researcher.


    Forester and conservationist Dr. Willie Smits has collaborated with local organizations to develop a small-scale facility to sustainably harvest juice from the Arenga sugar palm.

  • Tending solar panels in Benin, Africa

    Solar Electric Light Fund

    SELF is working in West Africa to install solar power systems that provide electricity for drip-irrigation, water supply, schools, health centers, Internet facilities and other critical services.

  • A woman on Seachar's stove project in Costa Rica


    The Seattle Biochar Working Group (SeaChar) developed a biochar-producing, micro-gasifier stove to serve Costa Rica’s Santos region, home of migrant coffee farmers.

  • ACON

    The African Christians Organization Network (ACON) has been working in Western Kenya since 2000 to empower villagers by providing opportunities for development that are environmentally sustainable.

  • great-energy-challenge-grantees-ivy-city--s990x625--p.jpg

    Habitat for Humanity

    Habitat For Humanity of Washington, D.C. (DC Habitat) is constructing six passive row houses in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C.

  • earthspark.jpg


    EarthSpark aims to mitigate energy poverty by developing smart micro-grids that efficiently leverage existing electricity generation from cell phone towers to provide power to nearby homes and small businesses.

  • Multifunction Energy Platform

    Engineers Without Borders

    In Uganda, EWB is implementing a Multifunction Energy Platform that can provide a host of services including providing mechanization for agricultural processing, electricity generation, and irrigation.

  • Swayam Krishi Sangam (SKS) India

    Swayam Krishi Sangam

    SKS works with tribal women from ultra poor families in India to make fuel briquettes for cooking purposes as well as incense sticks used in Indian temples, churches and mosques after dipping them in fragrant scents.

  • Frontier Markets

    Frontier Markets

    Frontier Markets has developed a market channel to bring clean energy products and services to rural households in India.

  • egg-energy.jpg


    EGG-energy bridges the gap between power generation and the end-customers by packaging electricity in a set of small, rechargeable and fully recyclable batteries that are rented out to customers.

  • Legacy Foundation.jpeg

    Legacy Foundation

    Legacy Foundation focuses on stopping the destruction of forests while increasing local employment and income.

  • Ghonsla


    Ghonsla is a social enterprise that provides effective and affordable insulation to underserved markets in Pakistan.

  • Green Empowerment.JPG

    Green Empowerment

    Green Empowerment is working with marginalized communities to provide affordable access to clean energy via micro-hydro development in Malaysian Borneo.

  • Impact Energies.JPG

    Impact Energies

    Impact Energies is creating the first countrywide repair network for solar lighting systems in Africa.

  • IMG_2339.jpg

    Solar Sister

    Solar Sister creates entrepeneurial clean energy networks among women in Uganda.