Energy

PEG Africa raises $1.5 million to support distribution of solar home systems in Ghana

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PEG Africa (PEG) , West Africa’s leading pay-as-you-go financing firm, with operations in Ghana and Ivory Coast, has raised a $1.5M in a debt round led by ResponsAbility in participation of  Oikocredit’ and SunFunder, to fund the purchase of solar home systems that will reach 75,000 people in Ghana.

This follows a $7.5 million equity round in June 2016. It will help PEG reach its goal of providing financing to half a million households in West Africa by 2020.

In a statement, Hugh Whalan, the CEO of PEG Africa said, ‘This debt deal is a landmark in West Africa for the off -grid pay-as-you-go solar sector. It will allow us to focus on continuing to grow our business. We are also proud to have received the support of our legal advisers, Nixon Peabody, on this innovative transaction. ‘

PEG provides financing for solar products to low-income households that typically live in rural areas and earn $5-$10 per day, spending up to 30% of that income on poor quality fuels such as kerosene, candles and batteries. While these customers have little ability to purchase a solar home system for cash, the pay-as-you-go plan allows them to purchase it over time, building ownership of the product over 12 months with daily payments of 50 cents.

”We are delighted to be a part of PEG’s success story and bring electricity to thousands of households in Ghana through a financially viable business model,” ResponsAbility‘s Stefan Issler commented,” This transaction is a great example of how different lenders can successfully cooperate to provide funding to unlock growth in the energy access sector.”

Each solar system has a battery, an 8 watt solar panel, 2 bulbs, a torch, a radio and a phone charger. After 12 months of payments, the system is fully paid off and the customer is will generate as much as $800 in energy savings over the remaining life of the solar system. In addition, they qualify for additional financing for productive and useful assets such as cook stoves, smart phones and solar powered TVs.

This is SunFunder‘s second deal with PEG to help them become a leading solar company in West Africa. Oikocredit’s joined in the round for the first time.

PEG Africa also win the ‘Scaling Off Grid Energy Grand Challenge’ grant from USAID to pilot innovative ways to help customers pay though mobile money in Ghana.

The grant was provided by the Scaling Off Grid Energy Grand Challenge, an initiative of USAID in partnership with DfID and Shell Foundation that is supporting solar home system companies to scale up commercial delivery of modern energy services to households in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nigeria’s Oil & Gas firm Oando PLC raises $116 million from Helios Investment Partners

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 Helios Investment Partners LLP is set to acquire 49% of the voting rights in Oando’s midstream business subsidiary, Oando Gas and Power Limited for $115.8 million

The Oil and gas company will retain 49% of the voting rights while the residual 2% will be held by a local entity.

According to Tope Lawani, Co-founder and managing partner of Helios Investment Partners, “This transaction is consistent with Helios’ strategy of investing in businesses that provide cost-effective and reliable energy access solutions.’’

OGP is the pioneer developer of Nigeria’s foremost natural gas distribution network and has subsequently grown to become the largest private sector gas distributor in Nigeria, delivering at peak, 70 million standard cubic feet per day to over 175 industrial and commercial customers via its vast gas infrastructure network.

With over 260 kilometers in pipeline infrastructure built, OGP provides energy solutions primarily through its subsidiaries: Gaslink Nigeria Limited, Gas Network Services Limited, and Central Horizon Gas Company.

Oando see the Helios deal as one that will support its continued growth to improve the reliability of gas supply to its numerous industrial customers.

“This strategic alliance will firmly leverage our local knowledge and expertise alongside Helios’ strong financial capabilities,” said Oando PLC Group Chief Executive, Adewale Tinubu. ”Through the optimization of our existing business operations and the expansion of our footprint, we will revolutionise the sector and position gas as a key driver for Nigeria’s economic empowerment. We look forward to completing the transaction, which will create a formidable leader of gas and power solutions in sub-Saharan Africa.”

The agreement is awaiting regulatory approvals and is subject to customary purchase price adjustments.

 

UK commits Ksh 70.5 billion to support renewable energy projects in Kenya

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The British High Commission, in conjunction with Barclays Bank of Kenya yesterday held the UK-Kenya Renewable Energy Conference (REC 100) aimed to secure investment into Kenya’s growing renewable energy sector, building a strong pipeline of deals to accelerate the nation’s pace of affordable electrification.
The Conference brought together 100 representatives from Kenyan and British firms across a range of low carbon solutions. Speakers included Energy & Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter, British High Commissioner to Kenya Nic Hailey, CEO of Barclays Kenya Jeremy Awori, and Lord Clive Hollick, the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Kenya & Tanzania.
The collaboration between the UK and Kenyan renewable energy sectors is underpinned by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the Governments in May of 2016, which saw the UK commit Ksh 70.5 billion to support the development of strategic renewable energy projects in Kenya. The MoU also promotes opportunities for private sector trade and investment by the UK in Kenya’s renewable energy sector.
Speaking at the Conference, the British High Commissioner to Kenya, Nic Hailey said:“The UK and Kenya are at the vanguard of renewable energy, clean technology and innovation. Kenya has one of the most active renewable energy sectors in Africa, and the UK is a global leader in many of the sectors for which Kenya has greatest demand.
“We are excited by this growing UK-Kenya partnership in renewables, working together to bring clean, sustainable energy to the Kenyan people and accelerate Kenya’s development and economic growth”.
Barclay’s Bank of Kenya, the conference co-sponsor, is a financier of energy projects. Barclays has arranged the financing for 21 renewable projects in South Africa, delivering around 40 per cent of the country’s renewable energy capacity. The bank has also played key financing and advisory roles in Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, and in the Bujagali hydropower project in Uganda.
According to Jeremy Awori, Barclay’s Bank of Kenya CEO:“Our expertise in investment financing and knowledge of the energy sector and its technologies position us to take advantage of falling renewable energy costs by partnering with the right investors to help Kenya achieve the government’s 5000MW plan by 2017.
Barclays is currently working on a partnership with Eiser Infrastructure, an independent equity fund headquartered in London, that will link local developers with international investors.
Kenya still has a low electrification rate by development standards, meaning that more power projects must be developed in order to meet demand, achieve the Government of Kenya’s targets, and deliver accessible pricing.

Sasini generates own electric power to increase profits

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By Joseph Njung’eh

The Sasini Group Company has launched a giant biogas project generating 150 kilowatts electric power in efforts to cut cost of production.

The company’s managing director, Moses Kiplagat said the project worth Shs.60 million situated at Mweiga Farm Nyeri will go a long way in increasing profits which will also reflect into the shareholders’ accounts.

Kiplagat said the energy produced from dung of more than 300 cows will be used in processing milk, lighting up an upcoming estate in the Farm and pump irrigation water at the vast lucern grass and coffee fields.

In the biogas plant, Kiplagat said, 60 percent is cow dung while 40 percent is water noting the sustainability of the project is hanged on the high number of cows at the Farm.

“Plans are underway to add solar panels in order to generate 600 megawatts as intended. The cost of production in Mweiga Farm will be reduced by 50 percent,” said Kiplagat.

He added that the biogas unit will also produce nitrogen to be used in making fertilizer.

“We incur a monthly electricity bill of Shs.10 million. The new power generation unit is an automated one and has batteries to store any excess power produced. We will never run out of power and at the same time save more money,” said the MD.

He, however, noted that cost of power is killing industries in the country.

The project, which started last year, was actualized by a Finland Contractor with Kiplagat saying they are seeking modalities of sharing the technology with small scale farmers.

The company also owns a 1900-acre coffee plantation in Kiambu County and a 700,000-tea-acraege in Kericho County.

 

Rent-to-own solar home systems Mobisol & Chloride Exide target off-grid areas with MobiShops

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Mobisol Group, a leading German solar home and business systems firm has partnered with battery and energy provider Chloride Exide Kenya Limited to launch MobiShop’s to aid its countrywide solar systems distribution.
The firms have launched the first MobiShop in Kakamega County, to mark the official start of sales of Mobisol’s high-tech solar systems in Kenya.   The JV is expected to boost rapid expansion of Mobisol operations throughout the country. Mobisol works with Chloride Exide´s affiliate Solinc and the deal is expected to further increase the sourcing volumes from Solinc.
According to the German Ambassador to Kenya, Mrs Jutta Frasch, “Simple and affordable solar energy will improve the life of many Kenyans – especially in remote areas”.
Building on their success in Tanzania and Rwanda, Mobisol launched in Kenya early this year to provide reliable and affordable high-quality solar systems (80 to 200 Watt) and appliances. The firm said, the systems are capable of illuminating entire households with efficient LED bulbs and allow for running large 32“ flat-screen TVs, stereos, DC fridges, and further provide recharge capabilities for consumer appliances such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets.
The systems have the capacity to power smaller businesses such as barbershops, phone charging stations, restaurants or village cinemas – which truly distinguishes them from their Kenyan competitors.
Mobisol and Chloride Exide have set themselves ambitious targets and the partners expect to provide access to clean and reliable solar power for 500,000 Kenyans by the end of 2018.
 “Through Mobisol, off-grid households in Kenya can finally afford solar systems that are of high quality and powerful enough to meet their entire households and business needs,” Andy Pond, Managing Director of Mobisol Kenya said. ”For as little as KSH 59 per day, Kenyans can now enjoy a modern, comfortable lifestyle, improve their economic well-being – and at the same time set new standards for worldwide sustainability.”
Mobisol, says it has so far installed over 60,000 solar systems for rural homes and businesses, thus reaching out to over 300,000 beneficiaries. The Berlin-based company allows customers to pay for their electricity source in an affordable, convenient payment plan via M-Pesa or Airtel Money.

Off-grid solar firm BBOXX raises $20 million to double down on Kenya and Rwanda

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 549350_603173019708866_1097450235_nEast Africa-focused off-grid solar company BBOXX, has closed a $20 million Series C investment from co-investors MacKinnon, Bennett & Company (MKB), ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies and KawiSafi Ventures, as well as existing investors Khosla Impact Fund, Bamboo Finance and DOEN Foundation to increase its presence in Kenya and Rwanda.
The Kigali-headquartered firm owns and operates retail distribution networks and after sales service centres in this countries and celebrated distributing over 70,000 solar kits globally. Apart from increasing its presence in Kenya and Rwanda, BBOXX aims to create three franchises in Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.

“We are excited about the growth potential for the African off-grid solar market and delighted with BBOXX’s rapid development” said Laure Vincotte, Managing Director of ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies. “We feel that BBOXX’s technology is fully in line with ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies’ objectives of promoting sustainable and scalable energy solutions for all”.

BBOXX has experienced swift growth in Rwanda and by the end of this year it expects to be electrifying as many households as the Rwandan national grid. With the country’s ambitious goal of electrifying over 20% of the population with off-grid solar systems, BBOXX is well positioned to serve this quickly growing market.

“BBOXX is building the next generation of energy services – connected, distributed, renewable and focused on customer service. We see a strong opportunity for BBOXX’s licensed products and services to act as a foundation for a rapidly growing new sector in the global utility market” said Patrick Bennett, VP at MKB.

In addition, BBOXX is supported by KawiSafi Ventures, a $100 million private equity fund focused on the off-grid energy sector in East Africa.  BBOXX will be the fund’s first investment.

“We have built an innovative, data-powered technology platform for the next generation of distributed utility companies,” said CEO Mansoor Hamayun. “We are thrilled to have ENGIE Rassembleurs d’Energies, KawiSafi Ventures and MKB as our lead investors – it will bring credibility to our industry and much needed scale. We are already deploying systems at the fastest rate in East Africa, at 10kWp of solar per day, and I am excited that we will continue to grow quickly over the next few years.

The company has pioneered a distributed energy platform, comprising data-driven technology and a unique solar home system design to deliver off-grid energy on a utility scale. Since 2010, BBOXX has provided off-grid electricity to more than 350,000 people in 35 countries around the world.

New cheap electricity initiative to target low-income consumers in Africa

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Scaling Off-Grid Energy is set to invest US$36 million to empower entrepreneurs and investors to connect 20 million households in Sub-Saharan Africa with off-grid energy by 2030.

The move follows the Power Africa project which was initiated in 2013 by US President Barack Obama to increase access to electricity across Africa, and USAID’s U.S.

Global Development Lab launched the initiative to empower entrepreneurs and investors to grow a market and connect households living outside the electricity grid with modern, clean and affordable electricity.

According to Scidev.net, the initiative aims to build a vibrant market across Sub-Saharan Africa by supporting growth of innovative entrepreneurs to make off-grid solutions affordable for rural families with profitable business ventures as well as catalyze private investments for them to spread to new markets.

Chris Jurgens, director of the Center for Transformational Partnerships at USAID and Scaling off Grid Energy said in an interview, “over 600 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity. Most countries are unlikely to connect their entire populations to grid electricity for years, if not decades. As a result, many households rely on expensive, polluting, and unsafe kerosene and diesel for their energy needs.”

Off-grid clean energy solutions, he explained, provide a market-based, cost-effective way to access electricity for communities off connections. “Off-grid solutions help improve quality of life for households by providing clean, reliable energy that can do everything from lighting up the night for children to do their school work to charging cell phones and running household appliances.”

Essentially, off-grid renewable energy solutions, especially household solar sector, is critical to reaching that goal “as the cost of solar technologies is rapidly falling, while the cost of alternatives such as kerosene is rising, making the economics more attractive.” But they are open to supporting other low-cost, renewable energy solutions.

“Energy access affects us all, but women disproportionately face the greatest energy challenges, and it affects education and economic opportunities. When women and girls spend their daylight hours gathering firewood and other household chores, they miss out on participating in other activities like education and economic ventures.” Jurgens added.

Scatec Solar secures 100 MW Solar Project in Nigeria

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solarScatecSolar.com has signed an agreement with CDIL, a Canadian renewable energy development company focused on Africa, and BPS, a Nigerian strategic consulting firm, securing the 100 MW (DC) Nova Scotia Power plant located in Jigawa State, Nigeria. This agreement was announced in connection with Scatec Solar’s second quarter results.

The Nova Scotia project company, signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) on July 21st, 2016.

“Solar power in Nigeria has significant long-term potential, and we want to take part in the development of this new market. This investment is the culmination of an extensive review during which the Nova Scotia Power project stood out thanks to its exceptional fundamentals. With the quality of its site, development standards and equity funded by Scatec Solar and its partners, the project is ideally positioned to progress rapidly to financial close” said Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar.

“We recognized the importance of partnering with a sponsor able to bring the project to financial close and with whom we share a long-term vision. We are proud of teaming up with Scatec Solar, who has demonstrated its unique ability to deliver similar projects in Africa”, said Arif Mohiuddin, President and CEO of CPCS, the parent company of CDIL.

A long-term player with an installation track-record of close to 600 MW, Scatec Solar will develop, build, own and operate the solar power plant in Jigawa. The project is expected to reach financial close in 2017 and commercial operations 12 months thereafter.

Currently, Scatec Solar produces electricity from 404 MW of solar power plants worldwide and is a leading independent solar power producer in Africa with nearly half of this capacity located in the region.

Investment Bank Fieldstone Africa Opens Second Africa Office in Nairobi

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Fieldstone Pic 1  Just a month after Fieldstone Africa introduced an investment index to ask investors, developers and financial institutions in the renewable energy sector, the firm has launched its second office in Africa, after Johannesburg.

 

The firm says it foresees an Africa of regions and Nairobi will help them get more involved  to serve its existing clients and assist in the dynamic growth in Kenya and the region.

 

Fieldstone Africa has established itself over its twenty years of history in Africa as a leading player in energy, infrastructure and related large capital projects. During that time, Fieldstone has been involved in over US$ 12 billion of transactions throughout the Continent.  Nairobi joins the Fieldstone Africa sites in London, Johannesburg, Berlin and Washington, DC and the global network of Fieldstone.

 

Fieldstone Africa Chief Executive Jason Harlan, speaking during the launch noted that the firm has identified East Africa, and Kenya in particular, as a vital location to serve its existing clients and help local companies tap into its global network of resources and expertise.

 

 

Harlan noted that the opportunity required the significant pool of existing talent and new entrants to work together to develop models mobilising local financial capacity and attracting international capital to economically necessary projects.  Fieldstone Africa’s role in the listing of Uganda’s Umeme on the Nairobi Stock Exchange is an example of motivating regional capital to spur growth while its work with international investors in the Lake Turkana wind project shows how capital from abroad can enhance project development. “Fieldstone Africa is, by means of its heritage and global reach, positioned to connect Africa with the world’s capital markets,” said Mr. Harlan.

 

“As an independent investment bank, we offer objective advice tailored to help our clients achieve optimal financial and strategic results based on their specific needs.” explained Mr. Harlan.   

 

Speaking at the launch, Fieldstone Africa Senior Representative for East Africa Dr. Catherine Adeya–Weya (former CEO of Konza Technopolis) said the firm will deliver product and performance to the highest international standards coupled with a deeper understanding of the particulars of the local and regional context.

 

The launch comes as Fieldstone Africa and its subsidiary, Fieldstone Africa Investment Resources (FAIR) are involved with several energy projects in East Africa. Taken together the projects evidence the shift in the energy paradigm to a broader mix of renewable and off grid solutions complementing the centralised power production.

 

 

Tanzania’s Off Grid Electric secures $18 Million from Helios Investment Partners & responsAbility to power Africa

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 Affordable solar systems firm operating in Tanzania and Rwanda, Off Grid Electric has secured $10 million from Helios Investment Partners and $8 million in debt financing from a lending group led by responsAbility to provide millions in Africa with clean and sustainable solar energy.

Totaling $18 million, this funding will enable Off Grid Electric to continue on the path to solving the energy access problem in Africa.

Last December, the firm raised $45 million in debt financing from the Packard Foundation, Ceniarth, Calvert Foundation among others. The U.S. Agency for International Development’s Development Innovation Ventures topped the fund with $5 million. Last year October, the firm also raised a $25 million Series Cround led by DBL Partners, SolarCity, Western Technology Investment, Paul Allen, Omidyar Network, Serious Change LP and Vulcan Capital while in 2014 the firm raised $23 million.

If this figures are anything to go by, the total cash raised by Off Grid Electric is way over $111 million since its 2012 launch. These investments are more than just capital – they’re a huge vote of confidence for the solar sector and Africa as a continent ripe with opportunities for growth and innovation.

“Last year Off Grid Electric added more solar homes than the Tanzanian utility company added to the grid,” noted Bill Lenihan, CFO & Head of Business Operations, Off Grid Electric. “Our objective is to bring industry leading partners to our company. Solar City, EDF and others are now joined by Helios and responsAbility. We’re privileged to have their capital support and unmatched continent knowledge, relationships and operating expertise. We are now stronger and able to further our mission and expand our reach.”

As you read this, Off Grid Electric’s line of solar appliances for rural entrepreneurs, announced last month at President Obama’s Entrepreneurship Summit in Palo Alto, California, called Kazi na Zola (“Work with Zola” in Swahili), the “business in a box” are being distributed to entrepreneurs in Rwanda and Tanzania with the tools they need to run a business — whether a barbershop, charging shop, bar, or restaurant – completely on solar. To date, Off Grid Electric is growing rapidly and services more than 100,000 households and businesses in Tanzania and Rwanda steadily catching up with M-Kopa Solar.

“In Off Grid Electric we see a compelling opportunity for Helios to be at the forefront of developing distributed power alternatives that satisfy the significant unmet power needs of the continent,” said Nairobi based Helios Operating Partner Dennis Aluanga.

Speaking on behalf of responsAbility, Alexander Bashian, Investment Officer Global Climate Partnership Fund, commented: “Our investment’s aim is to mitigate climate change and promote energy access in the developing countries. We believe that Off Grid Electric is a perfect example for how these objectives can be reached through financially viable business models.

Konza sets up a $13m, 73MW power line to get the city ready for innovators

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towers-660x330The Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) has finally set up its substation at Konza Techno City and energized it getting the city ready for occupation.

 

Financed by the Government of Kenya and EXIM Bank of India at a total cost of USD 13 Million, the substation, has a rating of 73MW and will serve areas such as Kyumvi, Salama, Athi River and Iposalat from Konza Substation. At Machakos substation, the power will further be fed to Kola, Konza, Katangi, Machakos and two future feeder lines.

 

Speaking during the energization exercise, KETRACO’s Managing Director & CEO FCPA Fernandes Barasa said that investors from within and outside the country can now invest in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Health, Tourism and Agriculture sectors among others as they are assured of reliable, efficient and affordable power supply.  

 

“The Konza substation will ensure that Konza Techno City has adequate and reliable power to meet the power needs for the medium term.” FCPA Barasa added.

Other projects the Company has implemented include the 220kV Rabai – Malindi – Garsen – Lamu (RMGL) transmission line that will power the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor and the Mombasa – Nairobi line that will power the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) upon its completion later this year.

 

By 2030, KETRACO will have implemented transmission infrastructure totaling to 16,000km of high voltage transmission lines that are in line with the Vision. The transmission lines, substations and switch gears will facilitate electricity evacuation from generating stations, reinforce the grid network for increased capacity, reliability and provide redundancy.

TEAMS completes the maintenance works

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Traffic on The East African Marine System (TEAMS) Cable has been fully restored following successful completion of maintenance works at the UAE Port of Fujairah.

The scheduled preventive maintenance works carried out between July 19th 2016 and July 28th 2016 was meant to enhance security against anchoring ships and external aggression.

Announcing restoration of traffic, the TEAMS General Manager Joel Tanui said, “We are very pleased to inform our esteemed customers that the scheduled preventive maintenance works were successfully concluded on 28th July 2016 and traffic was fully restored from 0600hrs, 28th July 2016. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for the patience of our esteemed customers throughout the cable preventive maintenance works and sincerely apologize for any inconveniences caused during the cable downtime”.

The timing of the works was chosen in compliance with the timelines of UAE Port of Fujairah to avail more anchoring space required for expansion of the Port.

TEAMS is a landmark public-private partnership and the premier undersea cable system serving the entire East African region. Besides the Government of Kenya, the other shareholders in the TEAMS consortium include Safaricom, Telkom Kenya, Liquid Telecom Kenya, Jamii Telecom, Wananchi Telecom, Access Kenya Group and Bandwidth & Cloud Services Group.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund invests $117.5m into Mainstream Renewable Power Africa power generation platform

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Global wind and solar company Mainstream Renewable Power has raised $117.5m investment deal from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the $177.5m of equity in the Lekela Power platform.

 

The $117.5 will come from RBF and the other investors, and $60m from Mainstream itself to finance it’s continued expansion of the Lekela Power platform, a joint venture with private equity firm Actis. The funding package will help Lekela meet its goal of constructing over 1.3GW of new power capacity in Africa by 2018, while addressing the challenge of climate change.

 

Other investors included IFC, the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund (ALAC) and the IFC Catalyst Fund, two funds managed by IFC Asset Management Company, Ascension Investment Management and Sanlam.

 

Mainstream Renewable Power CEO Eddie O’Connor said, “The teaming up of the world’s leading independent renewable power developer with a foundation started by members of the family that effectively founded the global oil industry, is a significant moment in the world’s transition to a new power system based on clean energy.

 

The deal will allow Lekela to continue to build its pipeline of wind and solar projects in Africa.  The platform plans to build four more wind farms in South Africa, a wind farm and two solar plants in Egypt, as well as wind farms in Senegal and Ghana.

Mainstream and Lekela are helping to fulfil the objectives of a series of key international initiatives, including the Obama Administration’s Power Africa, which aims to add 30,000MW of cleaner power generation through government and private partnerships, and the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All, which seeks to achieve universal access to power by 2030. Energy poverty has been recognised as one of the key challenges for Africa, with an estimated two thirds of people in Sub-Saharan Africa having no regular access to electricity.

Safaricom turns to renewable energy to reduce Green House Gas emissions

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SafaricomIn a move to reduce Green House Gas emissions, Safaricom has committed to promote the use of renewable energy to align to the historic climate change agreement stuck in Paris between 195 countries to avoid catastrophic climate change by limiting warming to 1.5C to 2C.

 

The telco has said this week, it will carry out Environmental management awareness and training across their various offices. The current scientific consensus is that global carbon emissions need to be reduced by 80% by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change.

 

‘This is not just a commitment on paper but one that we fully intend to follow through by implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in our network and facilities,” said Bob Collymore, CEO, Safaricom.

According to its latest Sustainability report, Safaricom achieved its target of reducing the cost of energy consumption by 10% and decreased overall carbon footprint by 18%.

 

The report attributes the reduction to replacement and upgrade of aging Base Transmission Station infrastructure, implementation of various energy efficiency initiatives and more accurate data collection.

Safaricom also recently joined several other companies associated with the B team to announce their aspiration to aim for net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050.  The B team is an initiative formed by a global group of business leaders led by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson to catalyze a better way of doing business, for the wellbeing of people and the planet.

 

“As a global community, the longer we delay making the required sustainability commitments and changes, the bigger the potential losses we face and the more radically our lives will be altered in the near future. We are committed to practicing what we preach that is why we are aspiring to be a ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ company” added Mr. Collymore.

Safaricom becomes the first company in the region to commit to the ‘Net-Zero by 2050’ aspiration.

UN Environment Head Lauds First Circumnavigation of Globe by Solar-Powered Airplane

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UN Environment chief Erik Solheim congratulated the the Solar Impulse  team, who today completed the first circumnavigation of the globe in a solar-powered airplane:

“Congratulations to the Solar Impulse team, and particularly pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg, for their historic achievement. Like Lindbergh’s Atlantic crossing or Yeager’s breaking of the sound barrier, Solar Impulse has accomplished something truly groundbreaking, proving practical what was once thought impossible. 

“While they have achieved another milestone in flight, their circumnavigation is even more momentous for what it demonstrates about clean technology. We may not be flying on a commercial solar plane in the next few years, but we are already driving electric cars, powering our homes with sunlight and running entire countries on renewable power. We live in a world where renewables are no longer an alternative source, but already the norm for a good deal of our energy needs. This transition is critical to fight climate change and improve the health of our planet and people. Solar Impulse has shown not only the pace of the transition, but that the sky is the limit to what we can do with clean technologies.”

African-Focused Solar Systems Lender SunFinder Raises $15 million from OPIC to Power Africa

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solarOverseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has invested $15 million in debt to SunFunder Inc. to provide financing to companies operating in developing countries that manufacture, distribute and install solar lighting and energy systems to switch people from kerosene and diesel to solar energy.

“OPIC is proud to partner with SunFunder in delivering innovative financing solutions for off-grid and grid-deficit solar energy in developing countries,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO. “The fund will facilitate access to financing by companies that provide clean energy products and services.”

Approximately 2.1 billion people in the developing world live without access to reliable energy and must rely on expensive and inferior energy sources such as kerosene and diesel for their lighting and electricity needs.

SunFunder will provide receivables financing, project financing, and inventory/working capital loans to the manufacturers, distributors, installers and retailers that provide solar energy in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia, Philippines, Uganda, Ghana, Pakistan and India. The types of solar products will range from portable solar powered lamps to 200W solar home systems to 500kW diesel replacement systems. The social impact of having bright, durable and safe energy will enable businesses to stay open longer and allow children to study at night.

“Solar energy is the most viable solution to replace dirty and unreliable fossil fuel energy sources and to increase energy access for those who really need it,” said Ryan Levinson, SunFunder’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “To support solar’s growth in emerging markets, access to sector-specific financing is key. OPIC’s investment in SunFunder’s Beyond The Grid Solar Fund will help expand our ability to respond to the financing gap that exists for off-grid and grid-deficit solar. Getting this kind of support and validation from OPIC will open up more opportunities not only for solar enterprises but also for investors worldwide.”

In December 2013, SunFunder received $150,000 in African Clean Energy Facility (ACEF) funding to expand its client base in Africa and help prepare for its OPIC loan application. The “Beyond The Grid Solar Fund” was selected for a loan through OPIC’s IFIP, a $500 million pilot program to support smaller-scale financial intermediaries investing in OPIC-eligible countries with a specific focus on impact and innovation. The OPIC loan will assist SunFunder, a Power Africa partner, to deliver on its commitment to support Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid sub-Initiative. Since the start of Power Africa in June 2013, OPIC has committed more than $1.6 billion in financing and insurance to power projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa’s Off Grid Solar Lighting Market worth $1.4 Billion by 2024

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Africa Off Grid Solar Lighting Market size is expected to reach USD 1.41 billion by 2024; according to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc.

According to the report, the market is categorized on application basis as residential, commercial, and industrial. Commercial application segment accounted over 20% of total share in 2015 and is forecast to reach USD 310 million, with calculated at over 16% CAGR.

Increasing need to enlighten rural Africa by clean light source is forecast to be key growth driver. Approximately, over 590 million of the regional population have no access to electricity, which includes over 130 million urban populations. Furthermore, large population segment is dependent on conventional light source such as kerosene lamps and candles. Oscillating kerosene prices coupled with increasing awareness regarding health hazards synced with conventional light source may complement off grid solar lighting market from 2016 to 2024.

Technological development offers added features such as extra battery life and multiple features such as mobile charging. Increasing cell phone customer base is anticipated to drive off grid solar lighting market over forecast time frame.

  • Solar lanterns product segment was dominant product segment in 2015 accounting over 50% of total share. Increasing demand for portable, affordable, and clean electricity source in rural Africa is forecast to drive Africa off grid solar lighting market size for solar lanterns.
  • Solar Home System (SHS) is projected to expand at over 17% CAGR up to 2024. Increasing customer base for cell phones is likely to boost SHS demand over the forecast timeframe. Residential applications were largest in 2015, increasing awareness to replace kerosene lamps with solar lights is likely to boost off grid solar lighting market size for residential application. Industrial application is forecast to reach 2.7 million units by 2024, with highest gains at over 16% CAGR.
  • Kenya off grid solar lighting market size dominated Africa in 2015 and is forecast to remain largest over the forecast timeframe owing to large number of retail stores, government incentives, and financial stability in the country.
  • Rwanda off grid solar lighting market is anticipated to witness highest gains over 18% CAGR. Government initiatives such as subsidy, pay as you go scheme, and other benefits is likely to propel industry growth in the country. Basis components required in off grid solar product includes, PV panel, batteries, connecters, and assembling parts.
  • Africa off grid solar lighting market share is fairly fragmented with large number of local suppliers. Major industry players include SunnyMoney, WakaWaka, and, Philips. Other market share contributor includes BareFoot Power, BBOXX, ASE, Sun Tech, and Nuru Light.

US-Based MOAB Power Launches Home Solar Systems with Digital TV for the African Market

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Image 1 - BG-f795d3554e1eee55f065e8174e8af2e8According to the Digital TV Sub-Saharan Africa Forecasts from Digital TV Research, nearly two-thirds of TV homes (36.2million) took digital signals by end 2015, up from 18.7% (7.9 million) in 2010. Complete digital transition was achieved in Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda by end 2015. This count will increase from 6 countries at end 2015 to 11 by end of 2016. Digital TV penetration will reach 99.9% in 35 forecast countries by 2021 or 74.7 million homes.

US-Based MOAB Power has launched Home Solar Systems with Digital TV for the African Market as the continent’s solar market heats up to serve off-grid communities.

The MOAB TV 60 package consists of a 16” TV, a miniature indoor/outdoor antenna, a 10W monocrystalline solar panel, a 60Wh lithium power management unit with four 12V and two USB ports, three 100 lumen LED lights and a multi-tip mobile phone charger.

The MOAB TV 120 upgrades the TV 60 offering with a larger 19” TV, a 20W solar panel and a 120Wh power management unit. Both are part of the current pico product line.

“While we take part in addressing the basic power and lighting needs of the over 2 billion people worldwide that lack access to energy, we value the importance of empowering and uplifting them through access to knowledge and entertainment. Promoting off-grid appliances, commencing with television, will be one of MOAB’s immediate goals for Africa, along with Asia and other parts of the world”, says MOAB POWER’s CTO, Nick Patel.

The MOAB TV units will be available in Q3 of 2016 and come with a full 3-year warranty [2-years for TV], and are available with Pay-As-You-Go for the Base-of-the-Pyramid [BOP] market.

The MOAB Power Management System utilizes proprietary, safe, 10-year lithium cells, coupled with smart power management and an LED display. It is the most powerful unit enclosed in one of the smallest and lightest packages, compared to competing Solar Home Systems.

Kenya’s M-KOPA Solar in April launched its own series of  solar-powered digital flat screen TV sets for the rural folks after finding out that TV only reaches 31 percent of the entire adult population daily, leaving out a huge 69 percent in the dark. The firm has sold 500 solar TVs already.

After Brexit, Kenya Might Sign Bill to Stifle its Own ‘Silicon Savannah’ Startups

Hon Duale, note the irony in the books!
Hon Duale, note the irony in the books! (Image:Twitter.com/HonAdenDuale)

Just when you thought the sun will shine after Brexit, Kenya might sign an ICT Practitioner’s bill that will bar non-ICT trained thinkers, innovators, to pursue their dreams and start companies like their heroes and heroins in Silicon Valley.

Kenya’s Senate Majority leader Aden Duale and his cronies, have drafted a bill, awaiting presidential assent requiring that everyone practicing any ICT related activity in the country, should be registered as a practitioner and should hold at least an ICT Degree, diploma or any Degree with 3 years experience; quickly forgetting that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and a long list of witnesses, either dropped out of school or never had any ICT or engineering certifications but their inventions have changed the world.

copy of the draft
copy of the draft bill

Though the bills motive might be well intended; to close the ICT skills gap and generate revenue for the government of the day, the ICT practitioners bill will negatively hinder innovation if passed into law. It’ll chase kids from innovation hubs, scare away non-techie angel investors and even the tourist-entrepreneurs who come to ‘Silicon Savannah’ as a launchpad for their own startups.

Internet service providers, hubs and telcos will suffer the most heat due to reduced demand for data, urbanization will be rattled as youths might resort to agriculture in the rural areas or to real estate to create their next big thing but their won’t much demand for those houses or farm produce either!

The issue of paying licence fees or fines or arrests won’t increase the amount our taxman collects, as from time immemorial, the loot ends up with the law enforcers and not at the treasury.

Now, the most worrying bit is that the revenue incentive might easily convince the president to see it as an easy way out to fill the budget deficit- fund healthcare, education and settle some foreign debts but sooner than later, then local ICT firms like One Africa Media, firms affiliated to Naspers like OLX, others affiliated to Rocket Internet like Jumia and the hundreds of startups founded and run by MBA’s, artists and dreamers will start feeling the terrible pinch.

If, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs among others had to wait for a college degree, the world might have never had Facebook, Windows and Microsoft and Apple. The Kenyan government needs to be educated that most of the youths working from the already struggling tech hubs need government support not agrarian laws that will stifle their thinking to a book or a certificate. This bill, if assented into law might also highly affect Konza Tech City and turn it into a Ponzi Scheme the world thinks it is because its the youths who are building things meanwhile the legislators go around misrepresenting them.

Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of Aden Duale’s TV, dropped out of university just like most of the inventors. If he was to be born in Kenya in this generation, this bill would prevent him from tinkering his mind about nuclear fusion and airwaves without a college certificate or degree and the world would never have the TV. Agreeing to this bill, is like feeding a an Anaconda (not Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda but the world’s largest snake) to swallow you up!

Go, sign this petition now.

Mentach Energy, Ages PLC & Stucky Win US$7million Access Co-Development Facility Prize

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Image:kristiholl.net

Three African Renewable Energy Projects Announced as Winners of the US$7million Access Co-Development Facility Prize

Three projects from Nigeria, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, fought off fierce competition from almost 100 entries to win a share of US$7million prize. The prize also includes a package of technical support designed to bring their renewable energy projects to life.

The winners are AGES PLC (25MW solar project in Sierra Leone), Mentach Energy (50 MW wind project in Nigeria), and Stucky Ltd (25MW Hydro & Solar project in Madagascar). Collectively, the projects will deliver 100 megawatts of electricity to 340,000 homes.

Three winners to share US$7million prize and deliver 100 MW of clean energy to 340, 000 homes
Record breaking participation – 96 entries spanning 25 countries across Africa

Access Power (“Access”) (www.Access-Power.com), a developer, owner and operator of renewable power projects in emerging markets, is delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 US$7 million Access Co-Development Facility (ACF), a financial support mechanism for renewable energy projects in Africa.

 

The winners were announced in London at the 18th annual Africa Energy Forum, following a presentation by five shortlisted developers to a panel of expert judges. The judges selected the three winners based on commercial, technical and environmental merits, as well as the local regulatory environment, and capability of the project team.

Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman of Access Power said: “I am delighted to congratulate today’s well-deserved winners and we look forward to working with each of them to provide the technical skills, expertise and financing to get their projects across the finish line.

“There is still a massive, urgent need for electrification in Africa and we firmly believe that renewable energy will be a significant part of the solution. This year’s ACF competition introduced us to almost 100 projects, demonstrating the scale of entrepreneurialism and ambition across the African continent to meet the electrification challenge.”

ACF 2016 saw unprecedented participation with a 75% increase in applications from the inaugural ACF 2015. Submissions came from 25 different African countries, a 40% annual uplift in the number of countries involved, with 95% of the projects submitted came from Sub-Saharan Africa, a key growth area for Access Power.