AFRICA: a $10m grant for electrification via solar mini-grids

The Universal Energy Facility (UEF) will award a $10.4 million grant to six companies operating in Africa. The funding will support electrification via solar mini-grids in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

Over the coming months, the Universal Energy Facility (UEF) will support electricity access providers in Africa. Managed by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), the mechanism plans to sign a series of subsidy agreements with at least six companies operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Madagascar and Sierra Leone.

Located south of the Sahara, these countries are among the worst performers when it comes to electrification. In the DRC, for example, nearly 80% of the population still has no access to electricity, according to the World Bank’s 2021 report. Yet this Central African country of 95 million people has immense and varied energy potential from renewable resources such as hydroelectricity, biomass, solar and geothermal energy. Given this situation, the solar mini-grid offers a solution for the rapid electrification of the population.

Electrification of 50,000 people in Madagascar

The UEF funding is intended to catalyse the development of this decentralised solution. “Once again, the UEF is proving to be a rapid and cost-effective solution for accelerating the deployment of clean energy subsidies,” says Edward Borgstein, Chief Executive of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), one of the UEF’s donors. According to SEforALL, the UEF grant will make it possible to develop an installed capacity of 3.7 MW, enough to provide access to electricity for 88,000 people in 29 communities.

In the DRC, the UEF has already signed the first $3.8 million grant agreement with Electrilac. The Green Enesys subsidiary will develop a 2.5 MW capacity to supply power to 30,000 people. Madagascar will receive $5.9 million. This grant will be divided between WeLight, Anka, Autarsys and Jiro Taratra/Africa GreenTec. These companies will build 21 solar mini-grids with a combined capacity of 0.99 MW to establish 9,935 new connections for 50,000 people.

In Sierra Leone, 6,000 people are expected to be impacted by the UEF grant. Funding of $706,000 will be awarded to Energicity for the construction of seven solar mini-grids with a combined capacity of 0.2 MW. The company, headed by Nicole Poindexter, is expected to make 193 connections to an electricity grid.


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