Mini-grid project focuses on human impact
Rural communities reaping health and socio-economic benefits of REPP-supported solar mini-grid project in Sierra Leone
USD 1.25m loan from REPP also marks UK government-funded programme’s first investment in a majority women-led company
London, 21 October 2021: A ground-breaking solar mini-grid project is delivering far-reaching health and socio-economic benefits in rural Sierra Leone following a USD 1.25m loan from REPP, funded by the UK government.
The “Moyamba” project is being developed by Energicity (SL) Limited (“Energicity”) after the company won a concession to build and/or upgrade and operate 32 mini-grid sites from Sierra Leone’s Rural Renewable Electrification Project, which was conceived in the wake of the 2014 Ebola crisis to support the country’s struggling health care system.
A significant part of the Moyamba project targets increasing the system’s capacity and strengthening its resilience to climate change via direct connection to hospitals and clinics. As part of the agreement with the government, Energicity’s project company is required to provide a minimum daily amount of power to community health centres free of charge.
As well as supporting health care, all 32 mini-grids are suitable for productive uses of energy, such as milling and grinding, thus providing income-generating opportunities for local businesses and direct job opportunities for communities. Energicity, a subsidiary of majority women-led Energicity Corporation, is also developing “behind the meter” relationships with customers, providing value-added services such as leasing freezers and electric motors.
REPP’s loan will now enable the completion of the project and provide funding for the operation of all 32 sites which are situated in Sierra Leone’s Port Loko, Kambia, Karene and Moyamba districts. Once completed, the mini-grid portfolio will provide first-time access to electricity to nearly 80,000 people, directly supporting Sierra Leone’s national electrification target of 92% by 2030. The sites will also add a combined 1.3MW of renewable energy capacity and avoid over 2,800 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Nicole Poindexter, CEO and Founder of Energicity Corporation, said: “With the support of REPP’s USD 1.25 million loan, the project is not only providing a source of reliable power to the districts’ under-pressure health clinics, but once completed will have connected almost 80,000 local people and small businesses to electricity for the first time. These people include Kadiatu Maseray, who with affordable and reliable electricity has increased the profits of her cold drinks business by 300% and the Conakry Dee Junior School, which has seen a 25% increase in attendance and a 235% increase in students passing since being connected to its local mini-grid.
“We are grateful for the REPP team’s commitment to helping us achieve our vision of providing affordable, reliable, scalable electricity so that families and communities can thrive.”
Geoff Sinclair, Managing Director of REPP’s investment manager, Camco Clean Energy, said: ”The Ebola outbreak in 2014 had a devastating impact on Sierra Leone, and put an overwhelming demand on the country’s healthcare system. The ongoing success of the Moyamba project is a sign of a country on the mend and proof of how renewable energy initiatives present a viable investment decision for external investors.
“From the start, Moyamba has been designed to have the widest positive impact on people, not just through providing free power to hospitals and clinics, but by delivering a sufficiently high service quality so as to promote the productive use of electricity, as well as providing households with a clean, healthy and more affordable alternative to kerosene.”
By having 60% female representation in Energicity (SL) Limited’s senior management team, the Moyamba project meets the 2X Challenge’s criteria for gender lens investment. This means that of all REPP’s current investments, 53% now meet this widely regarded criteria for supporting gender equality.
“In its role as REPP’s investment manager, Camco is committed to increasing the role of women in the sector,” said Sinclair. “Unfortunately, women-led businesses remain a rare entity in Sub-Saharan Africa’s renewable energy space, and so being able to support Moyamba as a majority women-managed project is a particular highlight.”
Notes to editors
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The Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) works to mobilise private sector development activity – and investment – in small to medium-sized projects (typically up to 25MW). It is supported with £148m funding from the UK’s International Climate Finance through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and to date, has agreed contracts with 30 renewable energy projects across 16 countries, employing six different technologies, from SHS and PV mini-grids to biomass and run-of-river hydro.
About Camco Clean Energy
Camco Clean Energy is a specialist fund manager focused on renewable energy, climate finance and impact in emerging markets. We offer elegant and practical financing solutions to lead the clean energy transition, pairing the conscience of a development bank with the agility of a small private company. Camco is an Accredited Entity of the Green Climate Fund and is authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority. The company has offices in Accra, Helsinki, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi and Toronto.
About the UK’s International Climate Finance
UK International Climate Finance (ICF) is the UK’s primary international instrument to help deliver on our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement. It is one of the vital tools we are deploying to tackle climate change internationally and help us secure successful outcomes at the COP26 negotiations.
The UK’s ICF helps developing countries mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, reduce deforestation and pursue clean economic growth. The ICF is focused on driving transformation in line with the scale of action required to tackle climate change.
Our results to date demonstrate the transformative impact that international climate action can have. Between April 2011 and March 2021, we have:
- supported 88 million people to cope with the effects of climate change;
- provided 41 million people with improved access to clean energy;
- reduced or avoided 180 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions;
- mobilised £5.2 billion of public finance and £3.3 billion of private finance for climate change purposes in developing countries;
- installed 2,400 megawatts of clean energy capacity.
About Energicity Corporation
Energicity Corporation is a developer and operator of solar-powered mini-grid utilities in West Africa. Energicity has won concessions in Sierra Leone (Power Leone) and Benin (Weziza Benin) that will serve over 120,000 people in the two countries. The company’s innovative deployment models enabling affordable, reliable, scalable electricity were hailed by TechCrunch in 2020 as Africa’s Utility of the Future. Founded in 2015 by Nicole Poindexter and co-founded by solar engineer Joseph Philip, the company’s investors include Treehouse Investments and the flagship investment of Ecosystem Integrity Fund’s Fund IV.