BPP Call for Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste: Guidelines for Interested Applicants

BPP Call for Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste: Guidelines for Interested Applicants

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What kind of proposals will be considered?

Target areas

AIFFP invites the submission of proposals addressing one of two target areas:

  1. Piloting Solutions: These initiatives support piloting and testing technical, commercial and community engagement models to increase affordable and reliable access to off-grid renewable energy for remote communities in the Pacific.
  2. Scaling Solutions: These initiatives support the implementation of existing and ready-to-scale models to increase affordable and reliable access to off-grid renewable energy for remote communities in the Pacific.

The following are considered in scope:

  • Micro and mini-grids that meet the needs of small communities serving up to 300 households
  • Community and business infrastructure powered by renewable energy, such as solar irrigation and cold storage
  • Biogas and mini-hydropower solutions
  • Transitioning existing remote infrastructure reliant on fossil fuels to environmentally sustainable alternatives
  • Single household energy connections, including household solar, provided they clearly meet community needs and include viable strategies for maintenance
  • Upgrades to existing off-grid connections may also be considered

All partnership concepts should support solutions that address specific climate impacts on women and create opportunities for women’s active participation and/or leadership. Partnerships are also strongly encouraged that seek to improve outcomes for people with disability and/or socially diverse groups.

Geographic focus

These partnerships are funded by Australia’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget.  Submissions are therefore invited for proposals that will implement in any ODA-eligible country in the Pacific and Timor-Leste (as determined by the OECD Development Assistance Committee), including proposals that implement in multiple ODA-eligible countries. For a list of ODA-eligible countries, click here.

What selection criteria are used to assess applications?

Key selection criteria

All applications to the Call for Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste must demonstrate their alignment to five key selection criteria:

  • Access to renewable energy
  • Inclusive socio-economic impact
  • Sustainability and commercial viability
  • Partnership
  • Value for money

1. Access to Renewable Energy: Increased access to reliable and affordable off-grid renewable energy for rural and remote communities

Proposals should demonstrate how they will contribute to the delivery of inclusive, reliable and affordable renewable energy solutions to communities who are not serviced by a main electricity grid, and are unlikely to be connected to an electricity grid in the foreseeable future. Proposals should indicate alignment with national strategies and standards in the country of implementation.

Off-grid renewable solutions could encompass pico solar products, standalone home systems, solar mini and micro grids or hydro systems.  Standalone commercial and industrial solutions would be eligible if there is a clear benefit to surrounding community.

2. Inclusive socio-economic impact

Improved lives and livelihoods: Applicants must demonstrate how their proposal can improve the lives and livelihoods of rural and remote communities in the Pacific and/or Timor-Leste through socio-economic and other benefits.

Gender equality: The Australian Government has designated gender equality as an overarching principle for the Australian development program.  Women are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and disproportionately bear the brunt of energy poverty. All funded partnerships are expected to consult with women and girls and analyse barriers limiting women’s access to energy or risks that particularly impact women and girls. Proposals should clearly identify opportunities to enhance gender equality, create opportunities for women’s active participation and leadership and outline measures to generate additional income streams or other benefits for women and girls.

Safeguarding: Proposals should identify key risks to communities to ensure appropriate safeguards are put in place and minimise harm, with special consideration of any risks to children and gender-related vulnerabilities such as women’s safety.

Social inclusion: The AIFFP is interested in supporting proposals that advance social inclusion. These proposals should demonstrate a commitment to accessible design and universal access, ensuring that products and solutions are designed in ways that consider the diverse needs of all members of the community. Proposals should also consider strategies for actively involving people with disabilities, or other groups that may experience marginalization, fostering well-being, inclusivity, and empowerment.

3. Sustainability and commercial viability

Applications should present clear business model that reflect an understanding of local context and are viable in the long-term when factoring in adequate operating, maintenance, and waste disposal costs.  While grant funding can be used to subsidise initial capital expenditure, or market testing or entry, long-term revenue generation should cover ongoing operations, maintenance, replacement capital expenditure, and/or customer service support.

4. Partnership

Collaboration is important to solving complex challenges such as renewable energy access in remote communities. Applicants should consider who are key actors/stakeholders they need to work/partner with and the roles they might play to support the long-term viability of the proposal. Partners with deep understanding and connections to local communities, including those who have an understanding of local gender dynamics, are encouraged.

For proposals that are bringing in multiple stakeholders, AIFFP would look for proposals that demonstrate:

  • Clear and complementary roles and contributions for all partners, with demonstrated capacity to deliver the proposal.
  • Clear mutual benefits and investment in shared objectives and some demonstration of incentives to maintain objectives beyond BPP, and equitable/ collaborative governance mechanism to maintain objectives.
  • Equitable/ collaborative governance mechanism to ensure inclusive decision making, valuing all voices and ensuring challenges can be navigated effectively.

5. Value for money

Value for money is a critical consideration to achieving the strategic objectives of the Australian development program. It is a requirement under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act (2013) and the Commonwealth Procurement Rules.  For more information on Value for Money Principles see: http://dfat.gov.au/aid/who-we-work-with/value-for-money-principles/Pages/value-for-money-principles.aspx

In selection, the AIFFP will consider two key factors in relation to value for money:

Additionality: Additionality is using DFAT resources to generate measurable environmental and development impact through BPP partnerships which would not have otherwise occurred. Partnerships can demonstrate additionality by articulating the need for BPP funding to catalyse investment (i.e. the investment provided by BPP would not have been provided by other sources), and how partners will benefit from DFAT resources and expertise in the partnerships.

Leverage: Leverage refers to the investment from partners through cash or in-kind co-contributions. Applications committing more matching contribution for their proposal type, particularly cash investment, may be preferenced.

Other factors to consider when applying

  • DFAT undertakes a range of risk management measures as well as the application of safeguards for all its investments. Applicants and associated partners will need to comply with these policies in order to be eligible for the BPP. DFAT’s safeguard policies include:
  • Disability inclusive development is a priority for the Australian Government. Applicants are encouraged to demonstrate how their proposal promotes an improved quality of life for people with disabilities in partner countries. Further information on disability inclusion can be found on the DFAT website.
  • Successful applications must be sure that any initiatives adhere to principles of efficient, effective, economical and ethical procurement of materials and products, including taking action to identify and address modern slavery risks in their procurement activities.
  • During implementation, initiatives will be required to regularly report on qualitative and quantitative indicators measuring progress towards their initiative goals and targets.

Who can apply?

Eligible applicants

Applicant organisations can originate from any country; however, at least one partner must be able to operate in the country they wish to implement their activities.

Applicant organisations need to be able to meet the requirements of DFAT’s due diligence process, including:

  • Registration with a business or other recognised registration/accreditation body.
  • Established financial history.
  • Not listed on sanctions lists, including those published by the Australian Government, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Other background criminal and reputational checks.

The BPP reserves the right to reassess any proposal if the partners change. This includes situations where the proposal is selected for BPP support, but previously identified partners withdraw from the partnership.

What is BPP’s partnership approach?

BPP’s partnership framework

The BPP enables strategic partnerships between DFAT and other partners to catalyse and learn from new renewable energy investments and business models in the Pacific and Timor-Leste, particularly those developing sustainable and gender-responsive delivery models.

The BPP’s partnership framework recognises that DFAT, businesses and other partnering organisations have significant skills, expertise and resources they are able to bring to the partnership. Operating through a partnership versus purely transactional approach brings increased flexibility, mutual accountability and creative problem solving to achieve mutual objectives. For multi-stakeholder or complex partnerships, the BPP can help provide independent partnership brokers to support establishing and maintaining effective and adaptive ways of working. The BPP partnership principles and approach is described further in https://thebpp.com.au/how-we-partner/.

Funding details

How much funding can be requested from the BPP?

The funding available for the BPP’s Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste varies depending on the type of proposal:

    • Piloting Solutions proposals have a funding range of AUD 50,000-250,000.
    • Scaling Solutions proposals have a funding range of AUD 250,000-1,000,000.

Are there any ineligible costs?

BPP is unable to fund:

  • Fundraising
  • Advocacy (unless specific to the BPP objective then should be attributable)
  • Management fee mark-ups (documented reasonable administrative or overhead costs may be allowable)
  • Corporate or organisational marketing and communications (communications specific to disseminating project outcomes and learning are eligible and should be attributable to BPP)
  • Retroactive expenses: i.e. costs incurred prior to the effective start date of the contract
  • Taxes and import duties applied by governments and public authorities

What kind of co-contribution is required?

  • Co-contributions for the BPP’s Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste vary depending on the proposal window:
    • Piloting Solutions initiatives require a meaningful cash or in-kind contribution by partners, demonstrating commitment to the implementation and sustainability of the proposed initiatives. More significant cash contributions will be viewed favourably in the selection process.
    • Scaling Solutions initiatives require a cash co-contribution of at least 25% of the funding amount during the implementation period.
  • Co-investment can be split between partner applicants, allowing multiple organisations to contribute.
  • Co-investment can be provided over the length of the proposal and should be reported every six months during implementation.
  • Co-investment from applicant organisations must be specific to the proposal and not part of activities the organisations are already undertaking. Given the commercial focus of the BPP, other donor funds generally cannot be counted towards partner co-investment.
  • For BPP purposes, cash co-investment is defined as funds provided by the applicant organisations for the purposes of undertaking the proposal.
  • In-kind co-investment consists of non-monetary inputs committed by the applicant organisations. These normally include staff hours, facilities, equipment and services provided by a partner organisation from its own resources. BPP will recognise in-kind co-investment at the fair market value normally expected to be paid for the good or service.


What is the period of funding?

Implementation periods may range from a minimum of 12 months to a maximum of 24 months. The selected partnerships should mobilise no later than March 2024.


Application Process

What are the steps in the application process?

Concept note

Interested applicants are invited to submit a short concept note in the provided template. The final date for submission of concept notes is at 8:00 p.m AEST / GMT +11 on 23 October 2023.

BPP will be assessing applications on a rolling basis during the during the application period, starting with a first assessment round on 12 September 2023. Highly promising, project-ready applications may be progressed before the closing date.

Full proposal

Applicants who are successful in proceeding to the next stage of the application process will be invited to prepare a full proposal using a form provided by the BPP. The full proposal will cover the same topics as the concept note, asking for more details regarding approaches, assumptions, implementation plans, monitoring and evaluation and risks. Applicants may be invited to a remote session to discuss their proposal. Support available to shortlisted applicants will be communicated by the BPP team, including business advisory, partnership and gender and social inclusion.

Final selection

After applicants submit their full proposals, the BPP will assess them to inform a final selection by DFAT. Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified of the outcome.

Due diligence

Applicant organisations need to be able to meet the requirements of DFAT’s due diligence process, including:

  • Registration with a business or other recognised registration/accreditation body
  • For those receiving funding, an established financial history
  • Not listed on sanctions lists, including those published by the Australian Government, the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, or the Inter-American Development Bank.
  • Other background criminal and reputational checks.

The BPP reserves the right to reassess any proposal if the partners change. This includes situations where the proposal is selected for BPP support, but previously identified partners withdraw from the partnership.

Due diligence will be conducted on all partners for selected proposals.  Due diligence assessments are designed to highlight and mitigate potential fiduciary, safeguarding and reputational risks that may arise. Partners will need to provide appropriate documentation to assist with due diligence assessments. DFAT may decide following due diligence conducted by the BPP not to continue with a proposal that represents significant fiduciary or reputational risk to the Australian Government.

Estimated timelines

The below dates are indicative only and subject to change.

22 August 2023: Applications open

12 September 2023: First round assessment of received applications

23 October 2023: Final deadline for submission of concept notes at 8:00 p.m. AEST / 5:00 p.m. ICT

September – November 2023: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and shortlisted applicants will be invited to submit full proposals.

October – December 2023: Final proposals are selected and proceed to due diligence and contracting

Dec 2023 – March 2024:  Kick-off meetings and implementation begins

How will BPP Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships be implemented?


A contract will be negotiated and signed between the Contracting Partner and the BPP. The contract will define funding milestones, and establish the terms, conditions and requirements for acquittal of the funds. Tranche payments will be linked to the completion of milestones.

The BPP will organise kick-off workshops with selected partners. Workshops will address partnership “ways of working,” detailed work planning and monitoring and results measurement.

Partners will be supported to develop Impact Measurement Plans, comprising key indicators against planned outcomes.

Measuring impact will help partners and the BPP to track progress towards achieving the planned outcomes of your initiative. Collecting data also offers an opportunity to reflect on progress, learn and adapt. BPP reporting requires partners to briefly present basic data, progress and challenges together with the financial position of your initiative on a 6-monthly basis. A more comprehensive final report is required at the end of the implementation period.

BPP support

The BPP can provide limited additional technical support to BPP partners throughout the funding period of the proposal from partnership, business, climate, gender and inclusion, communications, and monitoring and results measurement advisers.

Ready to apply?

How do I apply?

Ready to get started? Follow these steps to apply:

  1. Create a profile on SmartyGrants.
  2. Download the concept note application template from SmartyGrants or access it here.
  3. Follow the steps provided, including uploading your completed as early as possible. The final deadline for Concept Notes is no later than 8:00 p.m. AEST on 23 October 2023.
  4. Applicants who are invited to proceed to the next stage of the process will be notified. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis and may progress to full proposal at any time during the application period so early submission is encouraged.

Note: All application data will be kept in the strictest confidence. All DFAT officers and BPP personnel that review applications are bound by confidentiality/non-disclosure arrangements.  BPP may seek permission from applicants to share high-quality applications that could not be funded through this call for partnerships with other funding sources.

Applications will be assessed by the BPP in accordance with the key selection criteria.



Have questions or need help?


Frequently asked questions

Can we access any support for our application?

The BPP team and technical resources can provide technical and practical support for full proposal development for high-potential concepts that are shortlisted at the concept note review stage. Support may include partnership scoping and building, gender and inclusion, technical and business advisory aspects. BPP is not able to fund travel or staff costs at the application stage.

Can I view the concept note templates without signing up for SmartyGrants?

The concept note template is available here.

Submission of the concept note template and the rest of your application will need to be done through SmartyGrants.



Can BPP funding be used to pay tax?

The BPP is unable to provide funding for taxation purposes. Any taxation requirements are the responsibility of the applicant(s) and cannot be paid for with grant funding from the BPP. It is recommended applicants seek legal and/or financial advice including on eligibility for tax exemptions.

For example:

Partner A buys equipment from overseas to a partner country at original price of AUD 22,000. Partner A is required to pay for import tax and customs duty at 15% of the equipment’s value when the medical equipment is imported to the partner country. The BPP may fund the original price of AUD 22,000 but will not cover 15% extra cost (AUD 3,300 equivalent) of import and customs taxes. It will be partner’s responsibility to cover the extra cost of tax and customs duty.

What about the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for organisations registered in Australia?

If the contracting partner is registered in Australia for tax purposes, including NGOs/NFPs who may serve as contracting partner, Goods and Services Tax (GST) is payable by the BPP in addition to the grant funding awarded. 

For example:  

Partner B has been awarded a grant funding amount of AUD 200,000. Partner B is an eligible organisation registered in Australia for tax purposes and nominated as a contracting partner with Palladium. The total amount provided by the BPP including payable GST will be AUD 220,000. 

Are past recipients of BPP support eligible for funding through the BPP Call for Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste?

Yes, past BPP partners are eligible to apply provided the proposal is distinct from the original BPP proposal.

How will I be notified of outcomes?

Both successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified to the prime email listed on the SmartyGrants application. Please check your email’s inbox and spam folders to access the notification.

How many proposals will be funded under this call for partnerships?

We anticipate between 5 and 10 proposals will be selected depending on the budget levels of selected proposals and the quality of applications.

Can I submit more than one concept note?

Yes, organisations can submit more than one concept note for distinct ideas.

The Business Partnerships Platform is supported by the Australian Government and implemented by Palladium.

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