There’s more good news for sub-Saharan Africa: the implementation of programs to support standalone solar mini grids in Nigeria, solar power plants in Cape Verde, the largest solar plant in West Africa — situated in Togo — and a battery! Data centers in South Africa, meanwhile, will move to renewable energy.
In Nigeria, the Universal Energy Facility (UEF) is providing grants to 3,500 small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to accelerate the move to clean renewable energy.
“The UEF is a multi-donor results-based finance (RBF) facility established to significantly speed up and scale up energy access across Sub-Saharan Africa, in line with SDG7 and the Paris Agreement. The UEF provides incentive payments to eligible organizations deploying energy solutions and providing verified end-user electricity connections (including mini-grids and stand-alone solar systems) and clean cooking solutions based on pre-determined standards,” Afrik21 reports.
“SEforALL (Sustainable Energy for All), in collaboration with several donors and partners, including Shell Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, IKEA Foundation, Power Africa, Good Energies, UK FCDO, Carbon Trust, Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, GIZ, and the Africa Mini grid Developers Association (AMDA), established the facility in response to growing demands from the energy access sector for results-based financing.”
Their approach is to support proven solutions and business models offered by experienced firms and organizations with standalone solar. UEF aspires to reduce carbon emissions by 4.8 Tt CO2 by delivering 1.3 million electricity connections and 300,000 clean cooking solutions by 2030.
Successful project tenders will receive grants from the UEF to solarise small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), markets, shopping centres, cold stores, clinics, schools, and other productive users of energy — that is, uses that support economic activity and community infrastructure. These projects are to be implemented across most Nigerian states over the next 12 months.
“With this programme in Nigeria, the UEF will demonstrate the enabling power that sustainable energy can have on local economic development and climate action,” says Damilola Ogunbiyi, SE4All’s Executive Director and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All. “Solar projects supported by the Facility will provide businesses with clean, affordable electricity to help them grow, create jobs and replace polluting energy sources,” she adds.
Solar-powered mini grids will replace diesel generators often used when the power grid goes down. Businesses and small shops will benefit from reduced electricity costs. A further program to improve access to electricity for households has also been launched.