14th Call for Proposals is now closed!
The 14th EEP Africa Call for Proposals invites applications from early stage off-grid and on-grid clean energy projects in active development phase in Southern and East Africa. We are looking for projects with strong Concept Innovation, Development Impact and Business Model & Financial Sustainability.
The EEP Innovation Window considers financing requests in the range of EUR 200,000 — 1,000,000 with a progressive co-financing share of minimum 30% of the total project budget. Financing requests below EUR 500,000 will in most cases be treated as a grant. Any amount of financing exceeding EUR 500,000 will automatically be considered as a repayable grant and require a minimum 50% co-financing share.
How to apply?
Please read carefully the Concept Note Application Guidelines (PDF) and other documents to get familiar with the eligibility criteria and application process. Most of the topics you are expected to cover in the Concept Note are listed in Section 4 Evaluation of the Application Guidelines. Eligible applicants are invited to submit Concept Notes before the deadline 28 June 2018, 13:00 (Helsinki time, GMT+3). In the second stage, selected applicants will be invited to submit a Full Proposal.
- EEP Africa Concept Note Application Guidelines (PDF)
- NDF Environmental & Social Policy and Guidelines 2017 (PDF)
- NDF Policy on Anticorruption and Integrity (PDF)
- Administrative Manual for Project Implementation (PDF)
- Concept Note Questions (PDF)
Please use the Concept Note Questions document as an aid to collecting information for your submission – to preview the questions and draft the responses before entering them in the form. It is not an identical copy of the concept note form as some of the questions are business model specific and depend on the selection of e.g. project category. Please note that submitting the Concept Note in a document format by email is not accepted. You will need to fill in the web-based form to submit your Concept Note.
To start the application press the ‘Apply Here’ button. You will be able to save an unfinished application and continue and/or edit at a later stages. We recommend using the ‘Save and Continue’ feature while filling out the form to avoid losing any entered information. Once you have fully completed your application (Concept Note), submit it to EEP Africa by pressing ‘Submit’. After submission changes to the Concept Note are not possible. You will receive a confirmation and the complete Concept Note to the e-mail address you have provided in the form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any questions or clarification regarding the application form and process are to be sent no later than 31 May 2018 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enquiries and consultations regarding the specifics of individual applications are not allowed. Please see below the compiled FAQ which is subject to later updates.
EEP Africa organised an online webinar on 5 June. The recording of the webinar is not available but relevant questions will be added to the FAQ list. Interested applicants in Kenya and Zambia will have a chance to participate in Q&A sessions held in Nairobi on 12 June and in Lusaka 13 June. Click the link below to read more and register to the events.
Will questions be answered during the month of June?
If you have additional questions after 31 May and you cannot find the answers in the guidance documents (EEP Concept Note Application Guidelines, Draft Administration Manual or the FAQ) please email your question to email@example.com. EEP will do its utmost to provide timely response. However, it is not guaranteed that we will be able to answer all questions in particular towards the end of the application period. Project specific guidance on questions related to project design will not be provided. Please also check possibility to join the events of face-to-face discussions with the EEP team in June from the EEP CFP14 page.
Are there any target commitments in the call based on fund size, geography or technology?
EEP Africa aims to support a diversified portfolio of projects across technologies, business models, geographies as well as stage of development. The selection will be based on the evaluation criteria defined in the CFP14 EEP Concept Note Application Guidelines. No target commitments have been established.
Do all partners in a consortium need to be eligible applicants?
No, it is only the lead applicant that needs to meet the eligibility criteria. The Applicant decides which entity/-ies are suitable partner(s) for the project, if any. The lead applicant has full responsibility for the implementation of the project, including compliance with the funding contract and reporting. It is therefore recommendable that the lead applicant and the project partner(s) sign a separate contractual agreement.
Is there a standardised project implementation period and start date ?
The project implementation period is defined by the Applicant. It can be as short as 6 months, if reasonable, and up to 24 months. The proposed project timelines will be evaluated as part of the feasibility of the project at Concept Note stage. Please don’t be overambitious in your planning and suggested timeline. The EEP project start date will be agreed at the contracting stage. The EEP Concept Note Application Guidelines provides estimated contracting timeline.
Can my organisation be awarded more than one EEP grant?
The call for proposals is a competitive process and it is expected that the number of submitted Concept Notes in CFP14 will be high. An organisation is eligible to submit one project proposal for each eligible county and be selected for more than one project. However considering the aim of EEP Africa for a diversified portfolio and high quality applications focusing your efforts on the most potential application might be the most efficient approach.
Which costs are eligible and are there any caps for certain budget lines for example administrative costs?
Please refer to the Draft Administrative Manual which includes a list of all eligible as well as ineligible costs. The definitions are the same regardless of the development stage of the project. There are no specific caps on budget lines however the CFP14 is a competitive process and the evaluation includes an assessment of what is reasonable in the budget in relation to the project type and size. Please note that indirect overheads are not eligible.
Would an energy efficiency project which includes the use of fossil fuels be eligible for funding under EEP Africa?
EEP Africa funds projects in renewable energy and energy efficiency and in line with NDF Environmental and Social Policy Guidelines 2017. Accordingly, EEP will not finance activities that increase use of fossil fuels and/or prolong the technical or economic lifetime of heat and power production using fossil fuels. This includes projects based on LPG technology. Please consult the NDF Environmental and Social Policy Guidelines 2017 for additional guidance.
Are projects using biomass for other purposes than energy generation eligible?
EEP recognises that there are a number of productive uses of biomass that are beneficial for the environment and could potentially contribute towards the targets of EEP. Projects related to renewable energy and/or energy efficiency are eligible for EEP funding and in your Concept Note you should carefully consider and describe how your project will contribute towards the key SDGs for EEP Africa.
What can be considered as co-financing?
Co-financing can be in the form of equity, loan(s) or grant(s) and is required to be in place and verified prior to disbursement of EEP financing. EEP Africa accepts all sources of funding including own equity contribution, contributions from partner organisations, commercial and other debt, grants and other soft funding. Co-financing can be in the form of cash or cash equivalent contributions. Cash equivalent contributions are for example salaries for project staff borne by the company, rental expenses covered on behalf of the project etc. The value of already existing assets that will be used in the project cannot be provided as co-financing neither can the value of non-remunerated work. Financial contributions from the lead applicant and all active partner organisation/s can demonstrate commitment but are not an eligibility requirement.
Does co-financing conditions apply per activity or can co-financing be defined at the project level?
The co-financing is applicable at the project level but will be detailed to activity/costs level. The Applicant should suggest the division of co-financing between activities/cost items. The EEP and co-financing contribution to specific budget lines/items will be defined during the full proposal stage and contracting. The contract will also be based on milestones for the project.
Are there any limits to earlier grant funding received?
There is no limit to earlier grant financing or the source of the organisation’s financing, taking into account that it is in line with NDF guidelines. However, in the evaluation and selection the financial sustainability of the Project Developer and long-term viability of the business will be evaluated.
Are feasibility studies eligible for grants or only repayable grants? If the feasibility study shows that the project is not feasible will funds still be repayable?
EEP funding requests below EUR 500,000 for feasibility studies of on-grid and/or utility scale development and approaching a clear financial close will be considered for repayable grants. However, the repayable grant and specific terms will be defined at the full proposal and contracting stage. Feasibility studies that demonstrate that the project is not feasible or where the necessary funds for a financial close cannot be raised are likely to have the repayment condition waived.
What is the timetable for repayment of the repayable grant?
The repayment schedule will be defined during the full proposal and contracting stage. Repayments can be scheduled as instalments or lump sum payments. However, the full repayable grant should be repaid within 5 years of the start date of the EEP Africa contract.
Is innovation necessary in replication and scale-up projects?
Innovation will not be the main selection criteria for replication and scale-up projects. However, it is our experience that growth is difficult without certain innovation in the execution. The innovation could relate to what the project has learnt in the pilot and demonstration phases. Please also describe the expected innovation for your replication and scale-up in the Concept Note.
Does EEP Africa not fund projects that are financially profitable as project budgets should not include profits?
EEP Africa is looking for projects that are financially sustainable or aim to develop their business model to reach a financially sustainable status in the long-term. However, the Applicant should not derive profit from EEP project expenses i.e. EEP Africa only covers incurred cost as per receipts not with a margin. Applicants need to demonstrate the rationale for the EEP Africa funding for example in terms of proving a business model, in reaching a difficult market segment of disadvantages people or similar. Proven business models focused on mainstream markets will not be attractive for EEP Funding.
What is the difference between Market studies and technology research vs. feasibility studies in terms of eligibility?
Our definition of market studies and technology research is that they are of a more general nature to learn about a specific market and technology to provide information for project design. A feasibility study on the other hand is more specific to an already defined project and is therefore eligible.
Can a regional programme be considered multi-country and project budgets be treated separately?
A regional project must have one aggregated project budget and the applicant must be able to report costs attributable to the project budget. Co-financing is also required on a project level, not separately for individual project countries. However, there are no restrictions on how the Applicant defines its regional programme in individual EEP countries.
Are financing schemes focused on providing innovative financing to clean energy enterprises eligible for financing under the CfP14?
The Application Guidelines have been amended regarding eligibility of projects focusing on development of financing schemes for clean energy. Those kinds of projects are eligible under the current call for proposals, as long as the applicant can demonstrate Concept Innovation and how the financing scheme contributes to reaching the sustainable development goals particularly important for EEP.
If we apply for a repayable grant for a total of EUR 600,000 instead of the funding being divided into grant and repayable grant would it increase our chances of obtaining EEP support?
A repayable grant application for the full amount would be considered favorably in the evaluation and would be seen as an indication of the capacity of the Applicant. However, the Applicant should be able to demonstrate in their Concept Note a reasonable and convincing plan for the project and repayment of the grant.
EEP Africa currently partners with 15 countries in Southern and East Africa. Can proposals for projects in countries outside of this list be considered on a case-by-case basis?
Projects implemented in countries outside the geographical scope of EEP Africa are not eligible for funding.
Can I apply for EEP funding for an existing project, which would otherwise go unfunded?
If the proposal meets the evaluation criteria, and the additionality of the EEP funding is well justified and specified in the proposal, an existing project is also eligible for EEP funding. However, the project plan and budget can only include activities that will be implemented during the project contract period.
Is an international private company eligible to be the lead applicant?
Yes, the lead applicant can be based and registered in any country, but the project must be implemented in one (or more) of the 15 EEP countries. The project also needs to demonstrate credible local engagement.
We are a start-up and given the lack of balance sheet we are structuring with equity partners. How are we expected to prove partnership with co-financing partners? Is MoU enough or do you need a signed Financing Agreement?
The Applicants need to demonstrate in their applications the relationships, previous activities and engagement with the project partners. Co-financing in the project is one of the elements that can demonstrate the partnership. EEP will review whether the proposed co-financing is reasonable and credible. Meaningful co-financing participation in the total project budget is a minimum eligibility criteria to demonstrate credible ownership and risk sharing. The co-financing is required to be in place and will be verified prior to disbursement of EEP financing.
Are government owned utilities and research centres eligible to be partners (in a project consortium)?
Yes, government agencies and other public institutions as well as UN agencies can be project partners but not lead applicants.
Can changes or adjustments be made between the Concept Note and Full Proposal stages?
Based on the evaluation of the Concept Notes, EEP will request further elaboration and information at the Full Proposal stage from the shortlisted Applicants. Minor changes or adjustments to the certain areas of the project proposal could be expected at this stage but no changes to the overall goals of the project.
What level of project development (licenses etc.) is required from mini-grid projects?
There are no specific requirements for the stage of development of a mini-grid project. Any permit/MoU proving local commitment and stage of development may be helpful, but the potential of the project will be evaluated from several different perspectives based on the information provided in the Concept Note.
Is there a need to demonstrate government support for public sector related projects at this stage?
Demonstration of government support for public sector related projects is not explicitly requested but depending on the project type any indication of local commitment may be helpful in proving the viability of the project.
Will there be more future calls beyond the 14th, and if so, how many and when do you expect those?
EEP Africa is currently planning to run 1-2 calls per year. The timeline and theme for the next call has not been confirmed. Any new information on upcoming calls will be shared on the EEP website and other communication channels.
Are projects related to water purification (through renewable energy technology) eligible for an EEP grant?
EEP aims to increase the adoption of renewable energy and especially its productive use. Consequently, projects using renewable energy in productive ways may be eligible depending on the details of the project.
If one of the project shareholders is a developer and an EPCM company, is it acceptable to grant the EPC works to this company (if it‘s more cost and time effective due to project’s small size)?
If the lead applicant or one of the partner organisations is an EPCM company and the project includes such services it is acceptable to grant the services to this organisation. However, if the EPCM company is not included in the application in any way a proper procurement process in line with the Draft Administrative Manual is required. Please also read the other FAQs on eligible project costs.
If the lead applicant transfers the grant funds to a project company, which will be created solely for the purposes of the project and becomes the owner of the asset, is it an acceptable structure for the EEP?
The suggested project structure is allowed in EEP. However, the Lead Applicant is contractually responsible for all project activities and reporting. The contractual relationship will be formed with NDF and the Lead Applicant.
Is it expected for the lead applicant to make any co-financing contribution in the instance that co-financing is being sourced through an external party (such as a technical partner or EPC contractor)?
It is not an explicit requirement that the lead applicant provides co-financing. However, projects which have financial contributions from both the lead applicant and partner organisation(s) are looked upon favorably as it demonstrates commitment from all project partners.
Please clarify what ineligible "General Overheads" refer to?
Overheads cannot be included in the budget as a lump sum or as a share of total costs. However, general costs (indirect costs) resulting e.g. from project activities such as the use of telephone calls, electricity or water, as well as accounting costs, rental and cleaning costs, office costs etc. are eligible. The reported costs must have occurred solely from the project and the allocation of indirect costs must be clearly demonstrated and supported by relevant documentation.
Do the full financial plan and other financial details need to be in place already in stage 1 (Concept Note) or can the finer details be outlined in stage 2 (Full Proposal)?
You are expected to provide a project budget and plan of the financing of the project at the Concept Note stage. The credibility and reasonability of the budget and financing will be evaluated at the Concept Note stage. The details of the budget and financing will be elaborated at Full Proposal and contracting stages. In terms of organisation’s financial information you are requested to provide annual figures (turnover, operating results and total assets) from 2015-2017. If the audited financial figures from 2017 are published after June 2018, please provide the unaudited figures. Please also see other FAQs on the matter.
Who can apply?
Applicants for the EEP funding must meet the eligibility criteria defined in detail in the Application Guidelines. All proposed projects should be aligned with national development planning, including the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), of the country of operations. Applications should also be aligned with EEP Africa’s cross-cutting objectives: climate change, poverty reduction, development effectiveness, inclusive development, gender equality and human rights.
EEP Africa follows a competitive, two-stage application process. In the first stage, all eligible applicants are invited to submit Concept Notes. In the second stage, selected applicants will be invited to submit a Full Proposal. Additional information on the full proposal process will be shared with selected candidates.
EEP Africa is hosted and managed by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF). Funding partners for CFP14 are Austria, Finland and NDF.