Develop scalable solutions to address global energy poverty

Courtesy of US Government

Why compete?

Learning opportunity

Learn about one of the most pressing issues facing humanity from experts in the field

Huge untapped market potential

A market of 1.1 billion unserved people is one of the largest market opportunities today


Winners of the regional rounds and the global round will be featured on press releases, social media, and various media outlets


Participate in banquets and other social events with participants active in the sector

Sponsored field pilot

Winners of the regional round will be provided enough funding to complete a 2-month long field pilot

Significant Prize Monies

Amongst the regional rounds and global final winners a maximum $1 Million dollar prize purse will be distributed

Target customer community

Solutions are expected to serve customers with the following characteristics and needs.

Primarily off-grid

Tier 0-1 energy access

Purchasing power below $1.90 per day

Living in rural areas

Limited access to banking

<50% have bank accounts

Using feature phones

<40% have smartphones

Energy needs

Solutions must provide Tier 2 energy access (200+ watt hours per day), which includes:

Household uses

Household uses include: single house lighting, phone charging, telecommunication, entertainment, air circulation, refrigeration, water pumping, home cooling, smart cooking, electric two- and three-wheeler charging, etc.

Community uses

Community uses include: multiple home solutions for public lighting, water pumping & purification, education and health facilities, etc.

Productive uses

Productive uses include: agriculture processing, light manufacturing (sewing, pottery, weaving, carpentry), construction, food processing, commerce, new incoming opportunities, etc.

Competition tracks

The competition has four tracks, arranged by type of model and type of solution. For more details, refer to the competition guide.

Commercially available solutions Emerging solutions
Track 1
Decentralized models

Track 1A

Example solutions could include: solar home systems, pay-go systems

Track 1B

Example solutions could include: new household-level ideas that may interconnect

Track 2
Centralized utility models

Track 2A

Example solutions could include: mini- and micro-grids

Track 2B

Example solutions could include: Top-down solutions with a system operator


Competition guide

Detailed description and judging rubrics for the competition.


Competition rules

Official rules of the competition.


Evaluation Guide

Evaluation Guideline used for the online round.


Competition tutorial

Tutorial presented at the IEEE PEDG conference on Jun 25, 2018.

YouTube Youku Slides

Tech Design Library

Designing a electricity solutions to such difficult markets is a high challenge. To this end, EBL competitors are provided with a library of Design Resources that lists some of the leading manufacturers and service providers in the space. Competitors will be evaluated on novelty of their solutions, but are not expected to "reinvent the wheel" and encouraged to use existing solutions, where suitable.

Listing in this library does not constitute as endorsement by IEEE Empower a Billion Lives. If you would like your company to be featured among our design resources, contact us at ​​.

Regional details

Select your region to know more about the competition dates and the organizing committee.


May - Aug 2018

Online round

Sep 14 - 16, 2018


Sep 30, 2018

Notification of Regional Finalists

Dec 15, 2018

Submission of Final Reports

Jan 16 - 18, 2019

Regional Final in Johannesburg, South Africa

Sep 2019

Global Final

* Energy + Hackathon = Enerthon

Enerthon is a special workshop for the African regional where participants form teams and compete to create energy access solutions. It will be held at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa from Sep 14-16.

The name Enerthon comes from the contraction of “Energy” plus “Hackathon”. Participation on the Enerthon is entirely optional, but only open for African participants who successfully qualify on the online round. Be on the lookout for more details to come!



Braham Fereira


Marta Molinas


David Howey

GOGLA liaison

Jelena Popovic

Africa event

Gideon Potgieter

Lynn Kruger

Toit Mouton

Nickey Janse van Rensburg


Malcom McCulloch

Willie Cronje


May - Aug 2018

Online round

Sep 30, 2018

Notification of Regional Finalists

Dec 15, 2018

Submission of Final Reports


Regional Final in Atlanta

Sep 2019

Global Final


Coming soon


May - Aug 2018

Online round

Sep 30, 2018

Notification of Regional Finalists

Dec 15, 2018

Submission of Final Reports

Jan 22 - 24, 2019

Regional Final in Seville, Spain

Sep 2019

Global Final



Braham Fereira


Marta Molinas


David Howey

GOGLA liaison

Jelena Popovic

Europe event

Pedro Rodriquez

Yongheng Yang


Jun 30, 2018

Team Registration with Preliminary Proposal

Aug 31, 2018

Submission of Proposal

Sep 15, 2018

Notification of Regional Final Team

Oct 25, 2018

Submission of Final Reports

Nov 3, 2018

Regional Final Evaluation at IEEE PEAC Shenzhen, China

Nov 6, 2018

Award Ceremony of Pacific-Asia

Sep 2019

Global Final at IEEE ECCE Baltimore, USA


Steering Committee Lead

Mark Dehong Xu

Steering Committee Members

Sewan Choi

Yaow-Ming Chen

Braham Fereira

Jung-Ik Ha

Jun-ichi Itoh

Philip Krein

Dong-Choon Lee

Tsorng-Juu Liang

Sanjib Panda

Toshihisa Shimizu

Kenji Wada

Jinfa Zhang

Lei Zhang

Regional Organizing Committee Chair

Tianhao Tang

Regional Organizing Committee Co-Chairs

Jinjun Liu

Philip Krein

Jinfa Zhang

Secretariat of Pacific Asis CPSS

Po-tai Cheng


May - Aug, 2018

Online round

Sep 30, 2018

Notification of Regional Finalists

Dec 7, 2018

Submission of Final Reports

Dec 18 - 22, 2018

Regional Final in Chennai, India

Sep 2019

Global Final


South Asia Lead

Surya Doolla

Ashok Jhunjhunwala

Bhim Singh

B. G. Fernandes

Krishna Vasudevan

K. Sivakumar

Mukul C. Chandorkar

Santanu Mishra

Finance Chair

Prabhjot Kaur

Frequently Asked Questions

We are looking for holistic solutions that provide tier 2 energy access to the end customers. The solution should address the entire power generation, delivery, and management system including the business and social aspects. We are actively looking for the “WOW factor”, disruptive ideas that change the paradigm.

Absolutely yes, but you should consider inviting business students and/or professionals who may help you build a business plan. We also have a special prize category specifically for student teams.

The targeted prize purse is $1 million that will be distributed among the regional rounds and the global round that have qualifying winners. The winners of the regional rounds will be provided with enough funding to perform a 2 month field test and cover their travel expenses.

By all means you can compete. A valid entry does not have to include technical innovation, using an off-the-shelf product fits the competition requirements perfectly. We created a collection of design resources to aid your search for off-the-shelf products and services that can help you in creating your solution.

Unfortunately there is no funding available to teams at this time until the regional rounds when winning teams will receive funding to perform a 2 month field test and cover their travel expenses. The organizers highly encourage teams to pursue securing their own source of funding for the competition.

Unfortunately the organizers cannot disclose the list of registered teams, but we would like to encourage you to join our LinkedIn group to mash-up with other participants.

IEEE has a long history of facilitating transparent review and judging processes adhering to the IEEE Code of Ethics that is standard practice on IEEE conferences worldwide. Reviewers and judges will be assigned proposals that they have no financial or academic interest in.

No, the sponsors or judges claim no IP rights. You should use IP that you have a legal right to use. The competition will occasionally display your entry for purposes of advertising, evaluating, or promoting the competition. For details please see the official competition rules.

Unfortunately that is not possible due to the organizational difficulties it would pose. The judges will do their best to ensure confidentiality, but the organizers reserve the right to make public any technical document submitted. You are encouraged to file a provisional patent before submission. For details please see the official competition rules.

Absolutely! We are always happy to see committed volunteers working on the regional or on the global level. Please contact us at and let us know of your background, and interests.

The last day to register your team is August 31st. Changing team members is still possible after the deadline.

No, student teams must be consisted of exclusively students who are actively enrolled in a higher education institution. Faculty can be involved in an advisory role, but may not hold IP in the solution. Team with active faculty participants will be treated as normal teams.

Make sure to register your team or sign up to our newsletter to hear about the latest updates regarding the competition.

August 31st midnight Pacific time.

Yes, you can submit it several times, the judges will review and provide you with feedback within 15-30 days. You cannot submit a new proposal while one is under review.

The organizers highly recommend creating a short (less than 3 min) pitch video to briefly explain your idea to the judges. This helps the judges to get a clear high level understanding of your proposal that will guide them in the reading the rest of your proposal. This video is not required to be a professional video, or animation, a simple recording using a smart phone works well for the online round.

Proposals shorter than 6 pages are acceptable but must fulfill all the formatting requirements laid out in the Appendix I of the competition guide.

No, all proposals must be submitted on an A4 or 8.5”x11” page with a font size of minimum 11. For details please see the Appendix I of the competition guide.

Yes, as long as the proposals are different. The same proposal cannot be submitted in different tracks.

Yes, as long as the team leader is different.

No, unfortunately teams must sponsor their own travel to the regional rounds.

No, this is normal. We are currently transferring the proposal submission system to a third party competition management platform which will be able to send you a confirmation email. We appreciate your patience until then.

No, every team can attend only one regional round.

Yes, you can select your preferred region. In some special circumstances the organizers may need to assign you to a different region.

Have a question that's not listed here? Let us know at!

Join the competition

The registration for the 2018-2019 competition cycle has closed, the next cycle will open in 2020, looking forward to see you then!