CrossBoundary Energy report says solar data irregularities hurt African businesses

The declining cost of solar equipment continues to attract more and more African commercial-industrial (C&I) users toward solar energy solutions. However, this surge in solar energy uptake can be hindered by a key design factor- inaccuracy in solar irradiation.

Solar irradiation is the measurement of how much sunlight shines in each location which has a bearing on how much electricity a solar array can produce. The question is: Is the African solar industry’s current method of calculating long-term solar production reliable?

CrossBoundary Energy (CBE), one of Africa’s largest providers of solar plants for businesses, has suggested that this is not the case.

A new report from CrossBoundary Energy, entitled ‘Measuring Solar Irradiation in Africa, A Case for Change’, reveals that biases within the datasets commonly leveraged to estimate solar production in Africa cause projections to often overstate solar irradiation.

The report further states that “If these biases are not addressed during project development, inaccurate irradiance estimates can result in up to 20% reduction in realized solar savings for C&I solar buyers and a 1-2% reduction in the internal rate of return (IRR) on investment for solar developers and investors.”

The overstatement of solar irradiation is by no means peculiar to Africa. According to the report, even the U.S. and European markets are immune to inaccuracies.

For example, kWh Analytics, a U.S.-based research firm recently collaborated with 10 of America’s 15 largest solar asset owners to conduct the industry’s largest energy validation, analyzing the historic performance of distributed generation and utility-scale solar projects.

It was discovered that projects on average underperformed their third-party P50 estimates by 6.3% on a weather-adjusted basis, while a quarter of the projects missed their production targets by over 10%, even after weather adjustment.

What the research underscores is that higher irradiation data biases could see solar developers and their clients facing even greater impacts.

Solar developers bear the consequences of solar production overestimates

Per the report, solar developers in Africa rely on solar irradiance measurements to predict how much power the plant will produce daily and annually.

Their prediction affects the solar installation’s design, the price for solar-charged to C&I clients, and the expected return to investors from solar investments.

As such, inaccurate solar production estimates pose a risk to developers in that they fail to meet portfolio investor returns and under-deliver the expected savings to solar buyers.

Irregularities
Credit: crossboundary. Com

Highlighting the risk on C&I users of solar solutions, the report explains that a solar buyer in a major capital city could lose 4-5% of their projected savings from underproduction, while clients with operations outside of the major cities risk a significant reduction in savings of up to 20% due to system underperformance.

Even higher is the risk to off-grid mines using solar energy in tandem with diesel gen-sets, as they will bear additional fuel costs to offset the unmet solar production needs.

For investors, such systemic underperformance can reduce the projected IRR by up to one percent for urban sites, while diverse portfolios of urban and rural assets could see deviations from the projected IRR of greater than one percent.

The way forward

The CrossBoundary Energy report recommends that collaborative actions be taken to improve African irradiation estimates over the long term.

Crossboundary
Credit: crossboundary. Com

It states: “Improving solar irradiation measurement on the continent is not a single organization’s responsibility; collaboration between solar buyers, developers, data providers, installers, and investors is needed to address and ultimately rectify the problems.”

In addition, C&I solar buyers and investors are urged to implement practical steps on their own to protect themselves against over-optimistic production estimates.

For their part, solar developers and solar customers can help to reduce the impacts of these biases through deeper interrogation of estimated long-term solar production figures.

Rather than rely on a single source of data for estimating the solar irradiation for a given new project as is the common practice, solar developers should seek to interrogate multiple solar irradiation data sources to evaluate a realistic range of solar irradiation.

This will help to ensure that projections are not overly optimistic and avoid misrepresentation of project profitability.

You may read the full CrossBoundary Energy report here.

Applications open for AFSIA Solar Awards 2021

The African Solar Industry Association (AFSIA) in collaboration with Africa Energy Forum (AEF) is inviting applications for the second edition of the AFSIA Solar Awards.

About the awards

Launched by the African Solar Industry Association, the AFSIA Solar Awards, the competition is organized yearly to honor and award the excellence of all solar industry professionals and major players for their activities and contributions in the African solar market.

This year’s ceremony will be a physical event at the African Energy Forum which will take place in London from November 15-17, 2021; and virtual for those unable to travel.

Award categories

For this second edition, AFSIA has created 16 award categories which are:

  • Large Scale Solar Project of the Year
  • C&I (Commercial and Industrial) Solar Project of the Year
  • Mini Grid Solar Project of the Year
  • SHS (Solar Home Systems) Solar Company of the Year
  • Residential Solar Project of the Year
  • African Solar Company of the Year
  • African Solar Entrepreneur
  • SME of the Year
  • Financial Consultant of the Year
  • Legal Consultant of the Year
  • Technical Consultant of the Year
  • Development Finance Institution of the Year
  • Solar Woman of the Year
  • Solar Innovation of the Year
  • Solar Photo of the Year
  • Solar Video of the Year
  • Lifetime Achievement Award

To apply for any of the categories, participants are invited to submit their projects completed within the last 12 months.

How it works

The African and international companies that score the highest on innovation in their projects and on boldness in the face of challenges in the countries of installation will be selected.

To make this selection, applications will be evaluated by some of the leading experts in the African solar industry after which they will review each entry independently, identifying the best in each category.

Ines Dushime, Manager of the AFSIA Solar Awards explained that “The Solar Awards 2021 will once again recognize excellence in innovation, professionalism, best practice, safety, and environmental standards.

The ceremony aims to celebrate the brightest individuals and companies that the African solar industry has to offer. But it will also highlight the tremendous growth and development that the African solar industry is currently experiencing.” 

To apply for AFSIA Solar Awards 2021, click here for registration.

Deadline

Entries close on Friday, September 24, 2021.

MyJouleBox secures €3m Series A to expand into Francophone West Africa

MyJouleBox, a France-based but Benin-anchored startup, has closed EUR 3m Series A funding from EDFI ElectriFI, Gaia Impact Fund, a French VC firm, and financial advisory support from Finergreen, Allen & Overy, and De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés (DGFLA).

This new investment will allow MyJouleBox to strengthen its positions as a leading energy specialist in Benin as well as expand its market across other West African countries such as Burkina Faso, Senegal, and Togo.

Launched in 2012, the company specializes in the sales, installation, and maintenance of PV solutions tailored to meet the energy needs of underserved communities in Africa.

In the Republic of Benin, only 40% of the citizens have access to electricity. While 70% of urban residents have access to power, only 18% of people in rural areas have the facility. Contrasting the figures, there’s no doubt a significant urban-rural electricity access gap in the country.

As such, the Beninese government has put forward an ambitious target to leverage renewables to achieve urban and rural electrification rates of 95% and 65%, respectively, by 2025.

To help reach this goal, MyJouleBox has become a one-stop shop providing its clients- retail, SMEs, communities, and households- with access to solar energy through a Pay As You Go, model.

It makes available solar home systems for household electrification in rural areas, as well as large-scale off-grid solar systems that can power peri-urban households, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and commercial and industrial customers.

Having received this latest cash injection, MyJouleBox, operating under its brand name ARESS, is set to deploy 36 MW of solar PV systems by 2023 to electrify 55,000 new customers in West Africa.

According to the company, the project will not only accelerate electrification in West Africa but also reduce emissions by around 40,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.

Co-founder and CEO of MyJouleBoxPaul Berthomieu, said, “After 10 years with only our sweat and our desire to change things, we are very happy to welcome such a panel of partners who will support us financially and bring us their strong experience for a long, sustainable, profitable and impactful growth.” 

Commenting also, Corentin Billiet, ElectriFI investment officer at EDFI Management Company, said, “Within a few years, MyJouleBox managed to grow from a young start-up to a major player in the West African off-grid renewable energy space.

This success is mainly due to the exemplary vision and management of its two cofounders Léonide Sinsin and Paul Berthomieu. EDFI ElectriFI is very proud to support this dynamic organization and contribute to its future success.”

Italy’s Eni to develop a sustainable biofuel industry in Kenya

Italy’s leading energy company Eni, through its subsidiary Eni Kenya, and Kenya’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mining have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help Kenya adopt new industrial models of fully integrated circular economy across the whole biofuel production value chain.

This collaboration comes at a time when Kenya has embarked on a decarbonization process to address its waste problems and global climate change.

In line with its goal, the country is fast-tracking its circular economy initiatives including the recovery, regeneration, and reuse of agricultural and food waste in the biofuel industry.

Both parties will jointly conduct feasibility studies to develop waste and residue collection as well as agricultural projects.

A major reason for this is to establish a wide range of feedstock sources- that do not compete with food cycles- to be converted into biofuels and bio-products that might contribute to feeding Eni’s bio-refineries in Gela and Venice, Italy.

The parties will also assess the possibilities of transitioning Mombasa refinery into a bio-refinery, as well as the construction of a new plant for second-generation bio-ethanol from waste biomass, leveraging on Eni technologies Ecofining, e Proesa.

Innovative use of waste bring long-reaching benefits

The agri-focused development project is to develop sustainable oil crop cultivations, that is, low ILUC (indirect land-use change) feedstock such as cover crops, castor in degraded lands, croton trees in agroforestry systems, and other agro-industrial co-products.

The waste and residue collection would be used to promote and implement a collection system for used cooked oil (UCO) and other agro-processing residues.

This initiative will not only result in diversifying Kenya’s energy mix and supporting the overall decarbonization process but also decreasing the country’s reliance on imports of petroleum products.

Other expected benefits include developing sustainable agricultural activities and a circular economy, producing power from renewable sources, fostering the economic competitiveness of the local industry, and creating new jobs.

At an international level, the agreement conforms to the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals; at the national level, it contributes to the implementation of the Kenya Bioenergy Strategy, Updated Nationally Determined Contribution, Kenya’s National Development Plans, including Kenya Vision 2030.

For Eni, Italy’s leading energy company, the initiatives are in keeping with its commitment to actively drive the decarbonization process, and with the Company’s target to become palm-oil-free by 2023 and to double bio-refineries capacity to around 2 million tons by 2024.

How Homefort is helping Nigeria’s low-income households switch to clean cooking

Data from the International Energy Agency shows that over 2.6 billion people cook using open fires or stoves powered by kerosene, biomass, and coal.

The WHO also reports that every year, close to 4 million people die from illnesses attributed to these inefficient cooking practices.

In the Sustainable Development Scenario developed by the IEA, governments, and donors put access at the core of recovery plans and programs to ensure that low-income and poor communities gain access to cleaner cooking facilities.

Although there’s so much excitement as electrification rates across Africa witnessed improvement in the past few years, thanks to renewables like solar home systems, however, the deadly use of charcoal and fuel-powered stoves for cooking are dramatically on the rise.

To this end, liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) also known as cooking gas offers readily available and scalable solutions in many parts of Africa today, especially in gas-producing countries like Nigeria.

The irony is that Nigeria has more natural gas than it knows what to do with it. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) announced last month that gas deposits in Nigeria have moved 206.53 trillion cubic feet. Even with this growth, the country ranks among the lowest consumer of LPG globally.

A unique solution solving an everyday problem

According to Global Alliance on Clean Cookstoves, 92 percent of Nigerians who live on less than €2.5 per day still depend on dirty fuels for their cooking.

This is situation is Homefort, a Lagos-based clean energy startup aims to address. Launched by Opeyemi Owosho, the startup is on a mission to help low-income households switch to clean cooking.

Many households in Nigeria, at some point or the other, have run out of cooking at a most inconvenient time sometimes very early in the morning or late at night when gas depots have closed for the day.

Owosho, Founder of Homefort, cited poor consumer experience in the cooking gas industry as a reason for the low consumption of cooking gas in Nigeria.

“You don’t know when you’re going to run out of cooking gas. And when you run out of cooking gas it takes almost forever to get it refilled.

The retailers are mostly quack who will overfill your bottles which is actually dangerous. Some may even underfill your bottle, not giving the value for your money. That’s the first phase of the problem.”

He continued, “The second phase of the problem is over 90% of cylinders in circulation in Nigeria today are expired. LPG marketing companies are not bringing in new cylinders. So you have 90% of cylinders in markets in circulation today that are dangerous to everyone.”

Cooking made smarter and cleaner

Using digital innovations and a pay-as-you-go model, Homefort makes cooking gas easily accessible and affordable to all households.

The startup designed an IoT-based smart meter to digitalize LPG distribution in Nigeria. The smart meter innovation can be operated from a mobile phone. The device allows users to track the volume of gas, its usage in real-time, and the quantity of gas they have left.

smart meter

According to Owosho, Homefort’s smart meter is easy to use. It can be plugged into any generic gas cylinder, connecting and cylinder, and stove.

Homefort 4

Once this is done, the meter begins to transmit data to users giving them information while allowing them to monitor data usage via mobile phone. The startup offers additional services.

“Before users run out of gas, we bring them refilled bottles. Our smart meter also helps LPG marketing companies to track their assets, that is, cylinders in real-time. Because there’s a safety concern around cooking gas, another unique part of the smart meter is that it detects gas leakage”, he added.

After a year and a half of actively building this solution, Homefort’s founder revealed that the team finds the energy space challenging.

Deploying IoT skillS is new turf in Nigeria. We didn’t envisage a lot of the challenges we saw. One thing we realized is that data is everything. Taking this into consideration, we’ve launched version 12 for both our hardware and software products which are doing a lot better. So, yes, we have real products for a real market at this time”, he said.

Onboarding new customers

According to the founder, Homefort’s onboarding process goes something like this:

“To onboard a low-income customer to cooking gas, she makes a down payment of €10 and we give her cooking gas startup kit. The startup kit is prefilled with gas, but the customer can prepay for gas in micro-units of as low as 40 cents per time using her phone.

When the unit bought is exhausted, the meter locks in the gas within the cylinder until a new account is bought.

Because the meter is IoT enabled, we remotely monitor the customers’ gas volume left. We deliver fresh pre-filled cylinders to customers before they run out of gas.”

The transition from dirty fuels to cleaner energy for cooking is one move that has gained momentum in several parts of the country. And with the federal government seeking to ensure that the use of liquefied petroleum gas as cooking fuel grows to 90% in the next 10 years. Homefort’s vision to bring a new lease of life to the downstream sector might be achieved sooner than they envisioned.

In 2020, Homefort Energy received a $5,000 grant after winning the Kingdom Hackathon Prize of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.

Also in the same year, the startup won a $10,000 Grant from the Nigerian Oil and Gas technology Hackathon and All One respectively.


Featured Image: Opeyemi Owosho, Founder Homefort Energy, on Tech Trends


 

EIB-ISA joint research unpacks solutions to unlocking energy access in Africa

Did you know that presently over 120 million households across Africa lack access to reliable and affordable energy, with 60 million households expected to remain without electricity by 2030?

I didn’t either until the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) jointly published a new study.

The research explores energy issues as well as solutions to address key affordability and investment challenges holding back off-grid solar investment across Africa.

Yes, unless urgent action is taken to tackle energy inequalities, countries in Sub-Sahara Africa might as well be chasing the wind, never reaching their ambitious plans to ensure equitable access to sustainable energy.

Report
Credit: eib. Org

From the figure above, you’ll find that out of approximately 120 million households in the region lacking energy access in Africa, a third of these households are in Nigeria, DRC, and Ethiopia, nations with large populations and markets for commercial energy access products.

What does the report say? Titled ‘Commercial & Economic Feasibility Study for Enhancing Off-Grid Solar Inclusion in Sub Saharan Africa‘, the study states that, “Increased use of off-grid solar technology across Africa is essential to harness clean and affordable energy and transform the lives of millions of people”.

Drawing on EIB and ISA’s combined experience and expertise from successful off-grid deployment, the study outlines how investment can be unlocked to increase access to solar power.

According to Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, “the ground-breaking analysis also demonstrates how closer cooperation between African, European and global partners can unlock investment and technical barriers that hold back sustainable development and the green transition.”

In a similar vein, ISA’s Director-General said, “The joint International Solar Alliance – European Investment Bank study outlines a pathway to unlock access to off-grid solar in Africa.

This builds on proven success, expert insight, and commercial experience to identify and overcome investment gaps and financial barriers holding back off-grid solar.”

The study, based on the analysis by a global consulting firm Dalberg, sets out what can be done to increase access to clean energy to Africa’s remotest and underserved areas including refugee camps.

Access to off-grid energy investment equals a better future for millions

The new in-depth overview of recent private sector-led deployment of small-scale solar energy systems across sub-Saharan Africa identifies five key challenges that can be addressed to unlock high-impact local energy investment essential for sustainable development and economic growth on the continent. These include:

  • Limited ability of customers to afford Solar Home System (SHS) products,
  • Uncertainty in markets to effectively run businesses,
  • High costs to serving last-mile populations,
  • Cash-flow constraints stemming from working capital,
  • Instability in the political and economic environment.

The research explores and analyzes off-grid markets across Africa- Uganda, Rwanda, and Nigeria- providing recommendations for effective intervention to scale up off-grid solar deployment depending on specific local issues.

Stressing the need for cooperation, the joint study argues that sharing best-practice that allows investment and technical barriers holding back off-grid solar is key crucial to scale up off-grid solar.

This, it says, will allow vulnerable and remote communities to access clean energy and deliver the sustainable development goal of universal access to reliable and affordable energy.

Collaboration with development finance partners is key

Investment challenges including affordability, working capital and exchange rate risks, and political and economic stability are some of the obstacles holding back private sector investment in off-grid solar.

The good news, according to the report, is that problems can be reduced through combining commercial financing and support from development finance partners. Consider some of the financial and non-financial interventions as shown in the image below

Report 2
Credit: eib. Org

This is where potential partners such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforAll), USAID Power Africa, the World Bank, and philanthropies like Ikea Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation- all key power brokers and influencers – come in

Removing barriers to scaling up off-grid solar

The report published today examines off-grid solar investment across Africa and assesses how investment barriers including affordability, equipment supply, access to working capital, regulatory challenges, insurance, and technical expertise influence and hinder deployment.

The analysis uses solutions developed in local case studies to demonstrate the aggregated purchase of solar home systems can reduce costs and allow low-income, urban and rural communities, and refugees to access reliable energy through sustainable private sector-led off-grid solar projects.

As part of its commitment to contribute to energy access for all, the European Investment Bank is supporting 8 off-grid solar projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2020, the EIB provided EUR 5 million for private and public investment across Africa and is supporting off-grid solar across Africa including projects in, Chad, Comoros, Gambia, Kenya, Mozambique, and Uganda.

We hope to see more investments coming in. Even more importantly, we wish to see the funds being put to judicious use.

How robotics is transforming the renewable energy industry

To an extent, pop culture may have succeeded in shaping many people’s perceptions of robots.

With movies such as Terminator, Star Wars, and the like, it is no wonder that some see robots as dangerous technological ventures that will possibly destroy the entire human race, overpower puny humans and then take over the planet earth.

Even with this paranoia, modern times have seen incredible technological advancement such that robotics has moved beyond being mere fiction to reality.

Robotics, which refers to the design and use of machines (robots, drones, etc) to perform tasks done traditionally by human beings, is gaining even more popularity with use cases in the automotive, manufacturing, health, and commercial sectors.

Interestingly, robots can also perform menial household chores like vacuuming and dishwashing. Since its application is quite broad, robotics is not strange to engineers and environmentalists within the renewable energy industry.

Is the use of robotics in renewable energy environmentally possible? Well, as far back as 2011, researchers discovered areas in which robotics could contribute to sustainable development. Importantly, they also noted that it is a useful tool for managing alternative power generation devices.

Renewable energy is sourced from the sun, water, wind, geothermal heat, and other various biomass energies.

As such, companies in the sector deploy robots and automation to augment the methods of energy generation to improve the efficiency of alternative energy systems, enhance worker’s productivity, and reduce maintenance costs among other benefits.

Consider the following areas in which robotics is changing the renewable energy industry.

Solar

Globe News Wire has it that the global Solar Energy Market was estimated at US$50 billion in 2019 and is predicted to reach US$200 billion by 2026.

robo

Having this projection in mind, companies in the solar energy manufacturing space are applying robots and automation to make smart and instant production decisions, allowing them to meet the growing market needs.

Some of the tasks robots perform are handling, assembly, and finishing solar products. They are also relied on to help to clean photovoltaic solar panels modules with little to no supervision.

Wind

Have you ever seen a wind turbine? It’s that fan-like device that converts the wind’s kinetic energy into electrical energy. So, when it’s time for inspection, drones come in handy.

wind
Credit: bbc. Co. Uk

For example, unlike manual wind turbine inspection that is at best time consuming and at worst risky, that’ll require a rope to carry out wind turbine inspection, the use of drones makes the work go faster.

Also, with drones, the time required to paint, sand, and polish turbine blades is cut down from days to hours, allowing for more production to be done in a short time.

Hydropower

Similar to the way wind turbines help to generate power, hydroelectric turbines, through the part called wickets are important for regulating the inflow of water. Robots are used for the fabrication of this part of hydroelectric turbines.

hydro r
Credit: nsenergy. Com

Since hydro dams are deeply submerged into murky waters, underwater robotic vehicles have been designed specifically to perform maintenance functions.

If there’s damage, these robots also serve as a cutting-edge resource that can gather detailed high-intensity imaging, and data that will identify, measure, and record the exact location of faults, corrosion or obstructions as the case may be.

As demonstrated, robotics and automation play crucial roles in the processes of harnessing renewable energy. According to the International Energy Agency, the energy industry holds the key to responding to the world’s climate challenge.

By fully leveraging the power of robotics, the sector grows we can hope that the global zero-emission target is reached.

5 African startups win Siemens Stiftung’s E-Mobility Innovation Competition

Five social enterprises have emerged winners in Siemens Stiftung’s first open, E-Mobility Innovation Competition tagged “Electric Mobility Made in Africa for Africa”.

From a pool of over 100 applications from 19 African countries, the 5 startups outstanding for their sustainable and inclusive models, were selected to receive prize money ranging from €10,000 to €50,000.

The funding is expected to be used for product development, expansion, and building a stronger market presence. Below are the winning startups.

Rolf Huber, the MD of Siemens Stiftung credited the large number of applications he received to the “huge social and economic potential of innovative technical solutions related to electric mobility.”

MicroMek Ltd – Malawi

The startup produces 3-D printed transport drones that help to deliver healthcare products to underserved communities in remote areas of Malawi as well as being used for environmental monitoring.

BEAM Sarl – Burkina Faso

Since about 90% of Burkina Faso’s labor force is in the agriculture sector, BEAM Sarl, a mobile-powered solar platform, is working to reduce the workload of farmers in Africaelectr, thereby improving the living condition of people living in rural areas.

Greenfoot Africa Ltd – Tanzania

The marketplace app offers a clean and environmentally friendly way to pick up and deliver goods. It is on a mission to empower local businesses and consumers to transition to green energy and work more efficiently.

SolarTaxi – Ghana 

An e-mobility transportation company, SolarTaxi is a provider of various electronic vehicles that are powered by solar energy to transport people’s goods and services.

ThinkBikes Ltd – Nigeria

The first electric bicycle-sharing platform in Nigeria, this startup also offers users- business owners, students- rental services at affordable rates which are charged per hour.

Tanzania’s Simusolar secures USD 1.5M bond from EDFI ElectriFI to help rural smallholders

Simusolar, a Tanzania-based cleantech startup has received a total of EUR 1.26m from EDFI ElectriFI, the EU-funded Electrification Financing Initiative, with the facilitation services from the European program GET.invest.

Together with EDFI ElectriFI, other investors like Chroma Impact Investment, Acumen Fund, and Impact Capital joined in supporting Simusolar’s goal of rural productivity and climate change resilience and adaptation.

The new funds will be used to develop new products and strengthen the startup’s operations in Tanzania, allowing it to reach 27,640 beneficiaries by 2023

A leading provider of solar-powered water pumps and fishing lights in rural East Africa, Simusolar aims to build products that have a direct and significant impact on productivity.

The startup focuses on creating clean-energy-powered equipment for off-grid communities and making these products affordable to smallholder agribusinesses.

In Tanzania, the agriculture sector, which represents 30% of the country’s GDP, is a major driver for the economy and societal evolution.

As such, the sector is being re-directed towards a more sustainable and productive pathway where over half of the 56 million Tanzanians make up the workforce.

Given that only 3% of farmers currently have access to irrigation technology and most of them still use diesel pumps, Simusolar’s green solutions will contribute to enhancing sustainable agriculture across the country.

Simusolar’s diverse mix of productive equipment solutions and services are adapted to the farmers’ needs, improving their efficiency and therefore increasing their revenues.

Solar water pumps replace diesel pumps and enable better irrigation systems, allowing farmers to increase yields, farm year-round, and in some cases increase the area irrigated.

The fishing lights used by fishermen around Lake Victoria replace the use of kerosene lanterns and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. With its eco-friendly products, the company will contribute to the avoidance of 27,294 tons of carbon emissions.

According to Marianne Walpert, co-CEO at Simusolar, the startup has been customer-driven, developing an offering for farmers, fishers, and rural businesses from the ground up.

“That is what led us to specialize on income-generating systems and a full-service approach, neither of which is available in the market.

In EDFI ElectriFI we have found a mission-aligned partner who shares our vision of increasing rural incomes through productive use solutions and services”, she explained.

In the same vein, ElectriFI manager, Gemma Verhoeven said, “We are very proud to support such a dynamic and innovative organization in East Africa.

The work done by Simusolar in the last years pioneering solar-powered productive use technologies is remarkable and we are very pleased to be part of this journey and to contribute to the company’s continued success.  

Simusolar should also be proud to qualify for the “2X Challenge: Investing in Women” for Entrepreneurship and Employment as it is by majority founded by and led by women”, she added.

 

Korea partners AfDB to channel $600 million into Africa’s energy projects

The African Development Bank (AfDB), the Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Export-Import Bank of Korea have signed an agreement stating that Korea will provide $600 million in co-financing for energy investment together with the AfDB.

The Korea-Africa Energy Investment Framework (KAEIF) pact comes after the signing of a General Cooperation Agreement between the Bank and the Korean government on May 28, 2021.

The KAEIF is especially focused on renewable energy solutions in Africa which include generation, transmission, distribution, off-grid- and mini-grid, policy & regulatory reform, energy efficiency, and clean cooking projects.

To that end, the KAEIF funds will drive project preparation, capacity building, and knowledge-sharing activities through the Korea-Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Trust Fund.

Korea became a part of the African Development Fund and the Bank’s Capital in 1980 and 1982. In 2013, the Korean government established KOAFEC as a conduit for contributions to multi-donor and special funds managed by the Bank.

Commenting on what the investment will mean for the continent, Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, said,

“The KAEIF demonstrates the close cooperation between the African Development Bank and the Republic of Korea on the development of Africa’s energy sector.”

He also added that KAEIF will provide much-needed additional funding, to boost the Bank’s financing, support accelerated energy access especially as the continent’s transitioning to clean energy.

Also, the Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance noted that “similar to how the Korean Government prioritized the Green New Deal as its latest growth engine in the post-COVID-19 landscape, the Facility is expected to help African countries transition to green energy while simultaneously improving access to energy.”

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