General Electric and National Instruments Work on USAID Microgrid and Solar Projects

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General Electric (GE) and National Instruments (NI) are working on USAID microgrid and solar projects in Africa and India as part of a larger $10 million research initiative on a range of topics where gaps in scientiific knowledge exist.

The microgrid and solar projects are among 49 research initiatives through U.S. Aid’s Global Development Lab. Others focus on such issues as disaster preparedness, food security, maternal health and climate change in villages.

The energy projects include $220,000 on integrating solar energy microgrids and smart buildings in Morocco. NI said it will provide $150,000 in cash and other contributions over the next three years for the project, as part of NI’s on-going five-year partnership with USAID.

Separately, GE is participating in a $128,000 project to improve standards in India’s solar panel industry.

The projects are funded through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) program.

The next call for PEER proposals will open in October 2016.

“Collaboration is key for accelerating the impact of scientific research on development,” said Ann Mei Chang, USAID’s chief innovation officer and executive director of the U.S. Global Development Lab. “Through programs like PEER, we help strengthen the global scientific research community by providing opportunities for the best scientific minds to collaborate on crucial development issues.”

PEER provides opportunities for scientists in developing countries to conduct research with their U.S.-funded counterparts, and leverage nearly $90 million in existing research awards.

Since its launch in 2011, PEER has supported more than 200 researchers in over 45 countries, with a total investment of more than $50 million. The latest awards represent the fifth year of the PEER program. The 49 final projects were selected from over 650 proposals.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.