The Kenyan financial services business has been developing rural mini grids across Africa and has announced plans to show its rivals how such networks can thrive, in a bid to accelerate access to electricity on the continent.
Two solar farms with 80 MW of generation capacity tendered in 2017 are being built and will be commissioned this year but another two, allocated at the same time, are no nearer construction. Kenya, however, has been touted as the site of Africa’s first wind-solar-storage hybrid project.
The London-based developer revealed blockbusting annual figures which show it is debt free, has almost £20 million in the bank, raked in more than half that figure in net profits in 2018-19 and expects twice as much in a year’s time.
French power group Engie has started up its first minigrid installation in Zambia, while also announcing plans to expand Fenix, its PV home system unit for the African market. It did not disclose the specifications or size of the minigrid system.
Crossboundary Energy Access – which claims to be the continent’s first mini-grid financing facility – wants to unlock $11 billion in private capital to bring energy to 100 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. Raising capital has been a struggle despite mini-grids being lauded as a solid solution for electrification.
The African Development Bank is currently seeking consultants to arrange debt financing for five 20 MW projects it aims to develop under Zambia’s Renewable Energy Financing Framework.
The Ngonye project proposed by Italian energy giant Enel Group and Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation, will be financially underpinned by senior loans of up to $10 million from the International Finance Corporation, up to $12 million from IFC-Canada Climate Change Program and up to $11.75 million from the European Investment Bank.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved over US$50 million in funding for the development of up to 100 MW of renewable energy projects, primarily solar, in Zambia.
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