This Policy Brief is divided in 3 parts. Part I provides an overview of current and anticipated trends in energy poverty and their impact on development. This part evidences the magnitude of energy poverty challenge vis a vis public resources and ODA, but also the significant opportunities related to emerging clean energy solutions. Part II discusses some of the key financial and non-financial challenges related to financing clean energy access for the poor. It highlights the critical contribution that MFIs can play in fostering clean en- ergy access, but also the need to address wider non-financial barriers, market and government failures that prevent clean energy uptake; lastly, Part III presents the most defining characteristics of CleanStart, an in- novative UNCDF-UNDP Program aimed at increasing poor households and micro-enterprises access to clean energy by addressing financial and non-financial challenges, supporting microfinance and the development of enabling environments for clean energy financing.