Energy Access Relief Fund

Rapidly Deployed Funding for Covid Relief

Covid-19 affected the off-grid solar sector by disrupting the entire supply chain and impacting the sales and collections of energy access companies. In response, SIMA co-developed the Energy Access Relief Fund (EARF) to provide subsidized and subordinated loans to viable off-grid solar and energy access companies in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific that are facing liquidity challenges arising out of disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Within 12 months of fund closing, SIMA has achieved an unprecedented milestone of providing relief loans to 88 companies in 20 countries, and is on-course to make over 110 loans to a wide range of energy access companies in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia Pacific.

The portfolio has over 91% of its loans provided to MSMEs, and ranging in size from $50K to $2.5M to companies representing a broad cross section of the energy access sector.

With the receipt of over 500 applications from over 50 countries, SIMA has innovated the underwriting process such that the EARF loans can be provided to the borrowers in the least possible time. The fastest loan that was approved by EARF was in 5 working days and the fastest loan that was disbursed was in 5 weeks since the start of the Due Diligence.

Gender Action, Environmental and Social Management

The EARF is 2X Challenge qualified, prioritizes women-led businesses, and requires borrowers to maintain and report on gender equity policies throughout the 3-3.5-year loan term. EARF borrowers are also required to maintain environmental and social management systems (ESMS), and SIMA engages with borrowers to ensure they adopt acceptable customer protection practices, manage e-waste, offer high quality solar systems, etc.

Climate, Development, Philanthropic and Private Funders

The Fund’s marquee funders include the BII (British International investment), Global Affairs Canada, Green Climate Fund, DFC (Development Finance Corporation of US), FMO (Dutch Development Bank), Acumen, World Bank, International Finance Corporation, SIDA, Shell Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, IKEA Foundation, USAID and UKAID.

For application-related queries, reach out to us at

EARF Helpdesk (ESG Support)

CLASP has set up a Helpdesk for EARF applicants and borrowers to support them in the following areas:

  1. E-Waste Management.
  2. Applicable National Laws and Regulation
  3. Foundational Aspects of ESMS: Development, Implementation, and Improvement.
  4. Foundational Aspects of Stakeholder Engagement
  5. Foundational Aspects of Labor and Working Conditions
  6. Foundational Aspects of Sustainable Supply Chains
  7. GOGLA Consumer Protection Code

Note that the Helpdesk will send interested applicants and borrowers an agreement covering the support arrangements. To reach the helpdesk, please write to

Click here to download the ESMS EARF Policy.