Off Grid Expert

Location : Lesotho, LESOTHO
Application Deadline :26-Sep-18 (Midnight New York, USA)
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :8 weeks employment period
Expected Duration of Assignment :8 weeks employment period


The UNDP Country Office and the Government of Lesotho is implementing a five year (2016 – 2021) GEF-financed project “Development of Cornerstone Public Policies and Institutional Capacities to accelerate Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Progress”. The objective of the project is to catalyse investments in renewable energy-based mini-grids and Energy Centres to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contribute to the achievement of Lesotho’s Vision 2020 and SE4All goals. The project is expected to implement 10 mini-grids and 10 Energy Centres providing modern energy services to 1,000 rural households in the 5 districts of Mohale’s Hoek, Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka, Qacha’s Nek and Quthing.This objective will be achieved through the participation of the private sector working hand in hand with communities in the five selected districts. Project outcomes are as follows:

  • Development of cornerstone SE4All Policies and Strategies to facilitate investment in renewable energy-based mini-grids.
  • Improved capacity of energy stakeholders and government officials for decentralized clean energy planning and decision-making on the basis of quality energy data.
  • Installation of 10 mini-grids and 10 energy stores which are sustainable and functional in terms of improving access to modern energy services in rural communities.
  • Outreach programme and dissemination of project experience/best practices/lessons learned for replication nationally and throughout the region.

At the joint Africa Hub, Global Facilitation Team (GFT) and SE4ALL partners’ meeting in Tunis, December 2013, it was agreed that each country develops the SE4ALL Action Agenda and Investment Prospectuses (AA/IPs). The Department of Energy and the SE4ALL stakeholders have designated UNDP to lead the gathering of an SE4ALL comprehensive consultation at national and local levels.

The Ministry of Energy and Meteorology(MEM), through the Department of Energy (DoE) supported by the UNDP Country Office seeks the services of an International Consultant to develop a regulatory framework as well as reviewing financial support options for the proposed 10 mini-grids and 10 energy centres. As a primary task, the consultant will assess the extent to which current regulatory policies and practices in Lesotho address both the private sector developers’ and government concerns and interests with regard to effectively managing a mini-grid and energy centre programme. The consultant will propose regulatory interventions where current regulations are deemed insufficient. The secondary task of this consultancy assignment is to develop financial support options for mini-grids and energy centres. The Development of Cornerstone Public Policies and Institutional Capacities to accelerate Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Progress programme includes a level of subsidy provided to project developers to assist with ensuring long-term sustainable outcomes. The consultant will develop a suitable financial subsidy approach which includes a combination of up-front support as well as performance based assistance for both mini-grids and energy centres. The International Consultant will work closely with the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology(MEM), the Department of Energy (DoE) Project Focal Point, the Project Manager, together with support from the UNDP Lesotho Country Office, Regional Service Centre (RSC) and Regional Energy Programme (REP).

Duties and Responsibilities

Objective and Scope of Work

The Government of Lesotho and UNDP Country Office through the SE4ALL project require the services of International Consultant to assist in developing an appropriate set of regulations that will support and manage the mini-grid and Energy Centres component of the programme. While a range of regulations have been developed and published by the Lesotho Electricity and Water Authority (LEWA), the International Consultant will be tasked with ensuring that existing regulations address the full range of project developer and government interests. This will include important regulatory issues and practices around the position of licensing, the viability of concession models, tariff setting, technical standards, resolutions around grid arrival, property/site leasing, etc. The IC will have to consider the full suite of regulations required to ensure compliance from site identification, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance and, if necessary, site rehabilitation. Where regulatory gaps exist it will be the responsibility of the IC to propose effective and practical solutions. The intension here is to ensure that eventualities and responsibilities are addressed in the most ‘light handed’ and effective way possible, drawing on increasing best practice emerging in the management and regulation in the off-grid sector in Africa and other regions.  

The secondary objective is to design a suitable financial subsidy scheme for the programme. The programme has $1.2 million available to subsidize, through targeted grants, the overall costs of establishing the 10 mini-grids and 10 energy centres. Project developers will receive grants from the programme in a number of ways. Certain grants are available on a preparatory basis offering support around key early stage issues such as business planning and system design as well as limited contributions towards capital investments. Performance based grants will also feature prominently, ensuring the granting resources facilitates actual outcomes. The IC will consider the conditions and expectations surrounding the use of the grant resources and develop a suitable subsidy scheme that incentivizes project developers while at the same time securing longer-term outcomes.

The IC will work closely with MEM/DoE as well as the private sector (local and potential international) in developing these regulatory and financial support frameworks which will guide relations between the relevant public sector entities, private sector investors and operators as well as the end-user customer communities.

Specific tasks

  • Prepare an Inception Report with a clear methodology for developing the regulatory framework as well as the financial support options. The various steps required to produce these outcomes will be sufficiently detailed including stakeholder engagement, sources of regulatory and subsidy scheme reference, as well as a clear expression of the overall goals and outcomes anticipated.
  • Develop a detailed regulatory framework which addresses all the key regulatory issues pertaining to a successful mini-grid and energy centre programme. Relying on a combination of sources including existing regulations in the Lesotho energy sector, ‘best practice’ regulatory frameworks emerging in other African countries as well as engagement with relevant private and public sector entities in Lesotho. The IC will develop a comprehensive and practical framework addressing the key regulatory issues. Engagements with private sector developers, government as well as LEWA will provide insights into the current regulatory challenges and concerns. Local solutions will be sought in terms of existing regulatory provisions. Regulatory gaps will be addressed through a combination of best practice and innovative and practical proposals from the IC.
  • Make firm and practical recommendations with regard to the subsidy support scheme. The UNDP/GEF programme will make $1.2 million available through various granting options to the 10 mini-grids and 10 Energy Centres which will be supported by co-financing from project developers. The IC will develop a grant support strategy that integrates UNDP/GEF’s commitment to providing both early support targeting business plans and system designs as well as limit finance (grant) for initial capital costs. The balance of the grant (50%) will be paid out on a performance basis, with both the mini-grids and Energy Centres having to demonstrate pre-agreed progress before the balance of the grant is made available. The IC will be responsible for developing the performance based payment strategy based on realistic outcomes relevant to the operation of mini-grids and energy centres. The performance based approach will differ from technology to technology – for instance, between the mini-grids and energy centres – but should operate on similar principles of quantifiable outcomes and impacts. The agreed performance milestones should be premised on improved access to and use of modern energy sources over time. The IC will work closely with UNDP/GEF in order to understand the broad modality of performance based payments as well as reviewing similar subsidy-support schemes implemented elsewhere on the continent (for instance, GIZ’s outcomes-based financing of mini-grids in Rwanda) in order to develop a practical and implementable performance based [grant] payment system.
  • Prepare a Draft Report of the tasks outlined above. The regulatory framework and subsidy support scheme will be written up in a draft report for circulation and review by UNDP/GEF and the DoE.  
  • Consolidated and illustrated Final Report on regulatory framework and subsidy support scheme.


  • Excellent communication and reporting skills;
  • Demonstrated leadership and technical ability to communicate complex information verbally and in writing;
  • Ability to coordinate and lead discussions, and to engage in a multi-cultural setting.

Required Skills and Experience


  • Master’s Degree in Electrical/Mechanical/Electronics Engineering or Finance.


  • Minimum of 10 years of professional/academic experience in off-grid renewable energy initiatives;
  • The expert shall demonstrate experience in off-grid energy technology with specializations and experience in off-grid regulatory frameworks as well as renewable energy financing and subsidy support schemes;
  • In addition, the IC will have practical experience with supporting the private sector in developing and delivery off-grid energy solutions.


  • Fluent in English.

Submission requirements:

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

UNDP does not tolerate sexual exploitation and abuse, any kind of harassment, including sexual harassment, and discrimination. All selected candidates will, therefore, undergo rigorous reference and background checks.

If you are experiencing difficulties with online job applications, please contact

© 2016 United Nations Development Programme