Tanzania-based solar firm Off Grid Electric and France’s low-carbon energy firm EDF have launched a joint venture – ZECI – in Ivory Coast, to supply power to nearly 2 million people in Ivory Coast by year 2020, with plans to rapidly extend the partnership’s initiatives to other countries in the region.
ZECI will install and maintain solar kits for rural and peri-urban households in Ivory Coast. The homes will receive easy to install solar panels and batteries. Payment can be made through the simple use of a mobile phone. Customers will therefore have access to lighting and will be able to power a suite of energy-efficient household appliances including television sets, radios, fans and mobile phone chargers.
“We’re thrilled to partner with EDF, an industry leader whose presence in Africa, combined with its experience, will enable us to grow Off Grid Electric’s footprint across the continent,” said Bill Lenihan, President and CFO, Off Grid Electric. “Access to reliable energy is a challenge throughout Africa and our partnership with EDF will help us to meet this challenge. Through energy independence, we hope to see households and communities seize new opportunities.”
Rolling out this initiative in West Africa will create thousands of new sustainable jobs (over 1000 jobs in Ivory Coast alone), from sales managers to call-centre employees, who will benefit from Off Grid Electric and EDF in-house training. Giving customers the option to use a renewable energy source like solar energy also benefits the environment by replacing candles, paraffin, and kerosene.
Off Grid Electric will be receiving the UNFCCC’s Momentum for Change 2016 Award at COP22. The Momentum for Change initiative is spearheaded by the UN Climate Change secretariat to shine a light on some of the most innovative, scalable and replicable examples of what people are doing to address climate change.
“Off Grid Electric is the perfect partner for EDF, with its excellent knowledge of the African continent and a proven track record of providing innovative and competitive solar solutions,” said Simone Rossi, EDF Group Senior Executive Vice President, International Division.