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Justin Guay
Justin Guay is a climate and clean energy expert. He was formerly the Associate Director for the Sierra Club's International Climate Program, where he focused on energy lending reform at international financial institutions and global efforts to transition energy systems beyond coal to clean energy. He is presently the Program Officer covering climate at the Packard Foundation. He is based in San Francisco, CA. All opinions are his own and do not represent Packard Foundation views.

Entries by Justin Guay

The African Solar Revolution Will Be Televised

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 9:55 AM

Mark Edwards/Robertharding

African households will watch the solar revolution -- because their TVs will be powered by it.

Not long ago Ghana made headlines as the government was forced to ration electricity supply just to ensure people could watch the...

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Who Will Serve the World's Missing Middle?

(0) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 11:57 AM


Diesel generators are the world's most ubiquitous distributed energy technology - they're also ripe for displacement.

Around the world a growing number of distributed clean energy technology start-ups have aimed their sights at ending energy poverty by serving a vast untapped market -...

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Can $50M in Energing Market Solar Help Unlock a Clean Trillion?

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 7:07 PM


Unlocking $1 trillion in clean energy investment requires a new financial architecture capable of investing in, and scaling, an increasingly distributed world.

One piece of that architecture took a significant step forward last week. Beyond the grid solar financier SunFunder...

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Who will be the Amazon, Netflix of East Africa?

(0) Comments | Posted February 25, 2016 | 3:25 PM


Co-authored by William Brent, Power for All.

When it comes to the bleeding edge of global energy innovation East Africa is ground zero.

In just the past few days two leading beyond the grid solar providers have stepped forward...

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What Are We Going to Do About Oil?

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2016 | 3:50 PM

Co-Authored by Anthony Eggert Climate Works Oil Campaign Director

Just last week President Obama made headlines by floating a $10 per barrel oil tax. This needs to be the opening salvo in a renewed effort to move the country beyond oil, but the effort also...

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Will Data Unlock Billions in Solar Investment for the Poor?

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 10:43 AM


When it comes to unlocking solar for the world's poor it's all about the money.

That's why this week's announcement that beyond the grid solar firm BBOXX will lead the industry's first ever securitization is really big news. Because despite leveraging...

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3 Ways Public Dollars Can Embrace Risk, Catalyze Emerging Market Clean Energy

(0) Comments | Posted September 28, 2015 | 7:46 PM


It's easy to feel as though clean tech is an unstoppable juggernaut when you see unfathomably large clean energy targets in emerging markets like India. But the truth is, clean tech is not unstoppable. And unless those of us with mandates...

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Can Climate Advocates Innovate?

(0) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 7:15 AM


When it comes to climate change we are winning battles but losing the war. If we want to change our trajectory and solve a problem as complex as this, breakthrough innovation - in technology, business, governance, finance, and civil society - is essential....

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Why Should Climate Philanthropy Care About Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2015 | 11:59 AM

Investing in clean energy access provides a disruptive opportunity to revolutionize electricity systems and get on the right side of the politics of development -- philanthropy just hasn't realized it yet.


To be fair, philanthropy needs to step up it's game on climate...

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Will Silicon Valley Take On Clean Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2015 | 10:41 AM


With interest from Elon Musk to a16z's Steven Sinofsky, momentum in Silicon Valley may be heading in an unlikely direction -- towards addressing energy poverty.

Energy poverty, which affects 1.2 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity, is, according to...

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A Call to Foundations to Step Up Giving, Act on Climate

(0) Comments | Posted April 23, 2015 | 1:28 PM


It's time foundations stepped up their game when it comes to climate.

That's the message from two foundations that have invested big in climate: Larry Kramer and Carol Larson of the Hewlett and Packard Foundations. They delivered their message in The Chronicle of...

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Can PRI Finance Unlock Clean Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 11:51 AM

Photo courtesy of UK DFID

Access to finance is the largest near-term barrier to ending energy poverty for hundreds of millions around the world -- and foundation capital may be critical to overcoming it.

With conspicuously little fanfare Swiss asset manager

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Can Ending Energy Poverty Abroad Create Jobs at Home?

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2015 | 10:27 AM


An innovative American company called All Power Labs has a creative approach to tackling the challenge of energy poverty, one that has turned existing ideas about development aid and manufacturing jobs on their head.

Tom Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives for All Power...

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Is the IFC Finally Moving Solar Investment Beyond the Grid?

(0) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 11:59 AM

Photo courtesy of Mathieu Young

Investment in beyond-the-grid clean energy has been growing steadily, albeit with the world's foremost development institution, the World Bank, missing in action.

Last fall, the Sierra Club and Oil Change International published a scorecard evaluating major...

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What Fenix International's Investment Says About Solar Beyond the Grid in 2015

(1) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 1:22 PM


We're only one month into 2015 and it already looks like it'll be a wild ride when it comes to investment in solar energy beyond the grid.

I say that because I recently sat down with a private equity investor who has been...

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Did OPIC Just Finish A Watershed Beyond The Grid Solar Deal?

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Access to finance is the single largest barrier hindering clean energy access beyond the grid -- but the tide may be turning.

2014 was a breakout year for beyond the grid clean energy investment with at least $64 million invested, according to Greentech media. But in spite of this growing investment, the debt needed to scale successful companies is still all but absent. Which means whomever unlocks this debt unlocks scale, and that means powering hundreds of millions of lives.

In what may be a watershed moment on that front, the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) just this week closed a deal with Simpa Networks, a leading solar-as-a-service company operating in India. Their announcement included raising $4 million in commercial debt financing from OPIC and GDF Suez.

With this new funding, Simpa Networks will be able to reach an additional 200,000 people with clean, reliable, beyond the grid energy. To date, Simpa Networks has delivered over 65-megawatt hours of power and has created over 2,800 full and part-time jobs. Simpa Networks' press release included the following statement from OPIC's President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield:

"Simpa's inclusive approach to spreading energy access makes them an ideal partner for OPIC's impact-focused development investment strategy. The kind of technological leap Simpa and like-minded innovators are achieving proves that off-grid, clean energy in emerging markets is not merely viable, but a true opportunity both financially and environmentally."

It just so happens we at the Sierra Club are quite familiar with the work of Simpa Networks. We featured them in our short video, "Harnessing the Sun to Keep The Lights On in India" -- a video that, by the way, will be screened at the wild and scenic film festival early next year.

All in all, the Simpa/OPIC deal may just be an important moment that marks a shift in the growth of this market. If this is in fact the case, it will be in large part thanks to innovative public agencies like OPIC whose U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) initiative has committed to supporting 25 clean energy projects in 10 African countries -- including significant support for beyond-the-grid clean energy companies.

The truth is OPIC is a leader in this market, and other agencies would do well to follow in their...

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Will World Bank President Dr. Kim Go the Last Mile for Clean Energy Access?

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2014 | 12:16 PM

Co-authored with Vrinda Manglik, Associate Campaign Representative, International Clean Energy Access

The World Bank is failing to invest enough resources in clean energy access -- but Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim now has the opportunity to change all that.


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India's 'Airpocalypse' Could Kill 229,000 People Every Year

(0) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 1:03 PM


If India proceeds to build all proposed coal-fired power plants, the country may face a quarter million deaths every single year - and its own coal-fueled "airpocalypse."

That's the stark findings of the latest report from India-based Conservation...

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Big Banks Propping Up Dirty Coal Industry to the Tune of $89 Billion

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2014 | 12:50 PM

Co-authored by Yann Louvel, Climate and Energy Campaign coordinator at Banktrack.


After nearly destroying the global financial system, big international banks are yet again undermining international stability, this time by underwriting the coal industry's devastating effect on climate disruption and human health.

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Holiday Season Brings Big Developments for International Coal Financing

(0) Comments | Posted December 2, 2014 | 2:34 PM

Co-authored with Nicole Ghio, Sierra Club International Climate Program

While we were celebrating the start of the holiday season last week, there were a lot of big developments around the world to be thankful for, and a few to be wary of.

As the world turns its eyes to...

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