August 21, 2023 Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu Resources and Clean Energy

Call for Off-Grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste

An image promoting off-grid renewable energy partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) is calling for applications from potential business partners to trial new ideas or implement established, high-quality solutions for delivering reliable and sustainable renewable energy to remote and rural communities in the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

Significant progress has been made to increase electricity access across the Pacific and Timor-Leste. However, there are still around 3.7 million people in the region, including a disproportionate number of women, who do not have a reliable and affordable source of energy. Many of those without energy access live in remote and rural locations, are not served by an electricity grid, and rely on expensive and polluting fuels, like imported diesel, for electricity generation.

Many of the Pacific Island countries are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, marked by their exposure to rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changing ocean ecosystems.  The Australian Government is committed to climate action, including through a strong portfolio of climate-focussed investments to support the Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste to meet their ambitious targets.

The Call for Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste is part of AIFFP’s Pacific Climate Infrastructure Financing Partnership (PCIFP).  The PCIFP will expand AIFFP’s climate investments through a competitive grant program, implemented by the Business Partnerships Platform (BPP).

The Call for Partnerships aims to:

  • Increase access to reliable and affordable off-grid renewable energy in rural and remote communities
  • Improve lives, livelihoods and climate resilience of remote communities, especially women and people with disabilities
  • Market test new technologies and approaches to foster investment in sustainable services to support the renewable energy transition

The call will support two funding windows:


The following renewable energy solutions would be considered to be within the scope of this Call for Partnerships:

  • 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. Biomass is out of scope.
  • 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 living with disability and/or socially excluded groups.

All products and technologies implemented through these partnerships must be high quality and ethically sourced. 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 supply chains.

Eligibility, Selection and Funding Details*

Eligibility and Selection and Funding Details*

  • Applications may be submitted by businesses, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, governments, utilities or other entities. At least one private sector partner needs to be included in the partnership.
  • A co-contribution is required to ensure that both DFAT and partners are investing in the partnership and committed to long-term sustainability.
    • 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.
    • Additional cash and/or in-kind contributions beyond these requirements will be viewed favourably in the selection process.
  • Applications including women-owned businesses, Australian First Nations businesses or other Australian First Nations organisations are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicant organisations can originate from any country but at least one partner must be eligible to operate in the Pacific or Timor-Leste.
  • Partnerships comprise either an individual organisation or a consortium of organisations, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
  • Partnership implementation periods can range from 12-24 months.
  • For more information, please visit the Guidelines for Applicants.

Application Process

  • Create a profile on Smartygrants and submit a brief concept note before 23 October 2023.
  • Concept notes will be assessed on a rolling basis during the application period, starting with a first round on 12 September 2023. Highly promising applications may be progressed before the closing date.
  • Shortlisted applicants are supported to submit a full proposal.
  • Full proposals are assessed and successful applicants proceed to due diligence and contracting.
  • Kick off meetings are held to develop a workplan, a monitoring plan, and agree on partnership “ways of working”.
  • Implementation begins!


Key Areas to Consider Before Applying

When you are planning your proposals, here are some of the key points to consider:

Is your proposal in scope to provide access to sustainable energy solutions for communities that are currently off-grid? 

Your solution must provide renewable energy access to communities that are currently off-grid, that is, to users or systems that do not have the ability to connect to the main electricity grid. Please ensure that your solution is in scope.

Is your proposed solution commercially viable?

We recommend developing a clear business model and plan for how operations and maintenance will be provided and financed, to ensure the long-term sustainability of your initiative. This could include strategies for revenue generation, cost recovery, and ongoing operations and maintenance now and into the future. If sustainability relies on further funding, outline any agreements or strategies in place to obtain this.

Does your proposal include the right partners?

All proposals must include:

  • a partner with a local presence and capability to operate in the proposed location
  • a partner with the technical ability to deliver the sustainable energy solution
  • partner(s) with the ability to meet the co-contribution requirements for the partnership.

While it is possible that one partner may be able to deliver on all three requirements, it is likely you will need more than one partner for your proposal.

Will your proposal improve the lives of people within the communities it operates in? 

Your proposal must demonstrate how it can improve the lives and livelihoods of women and men in rural and remote communities through socio-economic or other impacts.

Information Sessions

The BPP held two information sessions to provide further context and respond to any questions regarding the application process.

If you were unable to attend a session, please contact to request a recording link or schedule a brief one-to-one discussion.


Partnership Networking Session

The BPP offered an online Partnership Networking event to enable organisations to learn more about the partnership approach utilised by the BPP, and to meet and connect with potential partners.

The information session was held on 22 September. If you would like to find out more about how to connect with potential partners, please contact the BPP team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about applying and eligibility for the BPP’s Off-grid Renewable Energy Partnerships in the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

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