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A new home for research & impact

You may recall from some of our previous blogs that we were in the process of looking for a new home for our award-winning Research & Impact department. Well, it looks like we’ve found one, but we can’t talk about it just yet.

We can confirm that Kat, our Director of Research & Impact, will be joining a wonderful organisation who share many of the same values as SolarAid. And we are super confident it will be the best place for her to develop the amazing impact research that she and her teams have been undertaking here at SolarAid. We’re looking forward to telling you more in the new year.

Kat has developed the largest and most comprehensive dataset on lighting in developing countries, with a particular focus on the impact of small scale solar in Africa. Her work is the place to go for information on off-grid families and the impact of solar lighting. It is vital to our understanding of people’s needs in off-grid communities and has helped shape the broader debate around clean energy access in tackling issues such as poverty, education, health and well-being.

Kat chairs the global industry association (GOGLA) working group that in the last two years has created an IRIS-aligned set of standardised impact metrics for the off-grid energy sector. She will be leading a session at the 4th International Off-Grid Lighting Exhibition this week on this very subject (and more!). Top work Kat.

Our recent strategic refocus, brought about by the events in Tanzania over the last few months has unfortunately meant that we are no longer able to support this research in the best way possible. The research partnerships that Kat has built at SolarAid, including the first ever large-scale study into the impact of solar lights on poverty alleviation, will be looked after by Kat at her new home so that the studies can continue and their results shared with the wider sector.

We know that this move will not only be best for Kat and the research projects currently underway, but also for the 1.3 billion people living without access to electricity. While a difficult decision for SolarAid, we’re delighted that all the hard work and value can be continued for the benefit of the entire off-grid lighting sector

We’d like to say a huge thanks to Kat and her team for enlightening us with so much incredible insight and wish her the very best for the future. We still have a load of awesome impact data we will continue to use and look forward to finding out what new and exciting research she uncovers.

And do not fear, Kat will still be tweeting as @Sunrise_Kat and publishing her weekly blog here.