IRENA provides support to islands in their transition to a renewable energy future through technical analysis of the power system to facilitate grid integration of renewable and site appraisal service to assess the financial viability of potential renewable energy sites.

Collaborative Frameworks

Collaborative Frameworks are multi-stakeholder platforms to engage public, private, intergovernmental and non-governmental actors in coordinated support and actions for global energy transition. IRENA has established Collaborative Frameworks on Hydropower, Green Hydrogen, Geopolitics, Offshore Renewables/Oceans, Enhancing Dialogue on High Shares of Renewables in Energy Systems and Just and Inclusive Energy Transitions, which are serving as effective vehicles for dialogue, peer-to-peer collaboration and exchange of knowledge.1

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Renewables Readiness Assessment

The Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) is a comprehensive tool for assessing the conditions existing in a country for the development and deployment of renewables along with the actions required to improve those conditions. RRAs for island countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Fiji, Grenada, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Vanuatu

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Quickscan is a tool that poses a questionnaire encompassing seven critical factors for a successful deployment of renewable energy in SIDS. It assesses renewable energy deployment readiness within the power sector and identifies areas of immediate action to help SIDS governments and development partners in prioritising actions that will accelerate renewable energy deployment.

Renewable Energy Roadmap (REmap)

Renewable Energy Roadmaps outlays a clear pathway for an island to transition to renewable energy. The roadmap provides a holistic overview of the technical, economic and policy readiness necessary for renewables deployment. The analysis helps to identify the least-cost power system and can additionally examine the scope of renewables penetration in end use activities as well as other sectors such as heating, cooling and transportation.

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Grid Integration studies

Grid studies and the power sector transformation

Grid studies support planning for the power sector transformation. Results of grid studies allow the evaluation of costs and other efforts required to deploy a flexible power system with the capacity to host the planned shares of variable renewable energy (VRE). On islands, grid studies strengthen the coordination between long-term, policy-driven renewable energy integration targets and their actual deployment in power systems. This means policy makers can plan more accurately for resources required to attain envisioned targets. They also allow power utilities to identify the most suitable technical measures to host the planned VRE shares, without affecting the system’s stability and reliability.

Grid integration studies: supporting the power sector transformation on islands

The power sector transformation to support higher shares of renewable energy deployment is one of the most effective strategies in global endeavors to mitigate climate change. It can be fostered by technical developments and significant cost reductions in variable renewable energy (VRE) technologies. By transforming their power sectors in this way, islands can access affordable, secure and clean electricity.

Due to economies of scale and the technical characteristics of the power networks, this power sector transformation can occur more rapidly in islands than in larger, more populated areas . Some of the technical challenges met by several islands in transforming their power sector have not been encountered yet in larger interconnected networks. The implementation of new technologies and modern operational practices to ensure the reliable and affordable supply of electricity while integrating high shares of VRE can position islands as lighthouses for innovative solutions involving renewable energy.

IRENA’s engagement

In preparation for a grid study, a scope of work is defined in consultation with the designated focal points, local stakeholders, external experts and development partners. The exact scope of work depends on the needs identified and the nature of the power sector on each island. The VRE integration targets, geographical coverage, infrastructure of the power network, generation capacity, operational practices of the system operator and the stakeholders involved are considered. Technical visits from IRENA’s experts, workshops with utility engineers and the use of simulation tools and models are also important parts of the process. Access to the power system simulation software DIgSILENT PowerFactory is available to member countries of the agency, with IRENA’s experts offering technical support for its application.

Grid integration studies must be updated based on the dynamics of the power sector over time. IRENA’s engagement includes a strong capacity-building component to allow studies to be conducted locally . A technical guide explaining the process of these technical studies are under preparation and will be available soon. The guide builds on the experience gained by IRENA after four years of engagement with member countries.

Grid Studies Completed

Antigua & Barbuda (Quick Facts)
Cook islands
Samoa (Quick Facts)

Global Atlas

The Global Atlas for Renewable Energy is a free online resource-assessment tool with maps on solar, wind, ocean and bioenergy resources. It also facilitates a first screening of sites and areas for renewable energy investment opportunities.

Tools under Global Atlas include:

Site Appraisals

IRENA’s site appraisals simulate the financial viability of a wind or solar project at a specific site. The wind or solar resource potential and the possible costs, financing and revenue associated with the specific site are assessed. The appraisal generates scenarios of financial performance based on the confidence determined in the resource data or the power purchase agreement model. It uses hourly high-resolution wind and solar time series datasets within an IRENA custom-built model and can be applied to any location worldwide.

Partners of the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative can apply for site appraisals.

Details on the Site Appraisal Service can be found at

SolarCity Simulator

The SolarCity is a web-based simulator application combines ultra-high-resolution three-dimensional building footprints with solar irradiation data, computed at one meter grid cells. The simulator can be used by end users such as households, businesses and municipal authorities to evaluate the potential of rooftop solar PV systems. It helps to calculate the possible savings as compared to other power sources based on a cash flow financing model. Municipal authorities can additionally assess the impact of different policy incentives. The SolarCity simulator is part of the Global Atlas online resource developed by IRENA.

Details on SolarCity Simulator can be found at

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Open Solar Contracts

Open Solar Contracts is a collaborative initiative by IRENA and the Terrawatt Initiative (TWI) to accelerate the scale -up of solar energy. Open Solar Contracts offer simple and universally applicable legal agreements that make contracting much faster and cost efficient to help streamline project development and finance processes.

Solar Contracts are fine-tuned for small and medium-sized, grid-connected solar PV projects. Standardised contracts include Power Purchase Agreement, Implementation Agreement, O&M Agreement, Supply Agreement, Installation Agreement and Finance Facility Term Sheet. These are complemented by the Implementation Guidelines.

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Data and Statistics

IRENA publishes detailed statistics on renewable energy capacity, power generation and renewable energy balances by collecting data from member countries using the IRENA Renewable Energy Statistics questionnaire and involves desk research where official statistics are not available. Such data and statistics help analysts, policy makers and the public make informed decisions for RE uptake. Renewable power-generation capacity statistics are released annually in March. Additionally, renewable power generation and renewable energy balances data sets are released in July.

IRENA’s statistics unit helps members to strengthen their data collection and reporting activities through training and methodological guidance. The cost dashboards provide statistics on global trends of renewable energy, LCOE and auction values, solar and wind technology costs.

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Climate Investment Platform and Investment Forums

The Climate Investment Platform is a joint initiative of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The CIP provides tailored technical assistance and project facilitation support to facilitate the development and scale up of RE technologies especially in developing economies as well as connects projects with registered financial institutions and other CIP partners.

The Investment forums work in 14 regional clusters and their purpose is to strengthen the ecosystem for increasing renewable energy investments and to help the developers prepare bankable projects and access relevant financing schemes. These forums are a part of CIP and help realise project investments through a sub-regional approach. Each cluster is adjusted to the specific needs of its member countries and provides analytical, technical and project support, also allowing countries to engage in one or more clusters.

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Energy Transition Accelerator Financing (ETAF) Platform

ETAF is a multi-stakeholder platform providing innovative climate financing solutions to advance energy transition, implementation of NDCs and the realization of SDGs across IRENA’s membership countries. The platform facilitates matchmaking of renewable energy projects with financing solutions from various funding partners, investors, private sector, and donors with the aim to mobilise approximately USD 1 billion of capital by 2030.

UAE via the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has provided and an anchor funding of USD 400 million to promote climate finance partnerships between the Middle East and the world.

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