Freetown, Oct 28, 2016 -- The Government of Sierra Leone today provided an update on the progress of its Energy Revolution initiative to supply basic power to all of its citizens by 2025.
Announced by President Ernest Bai Koroma in May, the Energy Revolution pledged to provide at least 250,000 homes with solar units and introduce household solar to all 149 chiefdoms by the end of next year, as well as to deliver modern power to 1 million people by 2020.
As of the start of October, results included:
- The National Finance Policy has been amended to make all solar PV home systems exempt from VAT and import duties, in order to reduce the cost to consumers
- A “Green Lane” has been set up by customs authorities to allow approved companies to get their products cleared faster from ports
- 13 companies have been vetted and approved by the Minister of Energy for import waivers and Green Lane status. These companies all adhere to International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, ensuring that quality is maintained
- A Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone was created with 17 initial members
- Mechanisms to create access to finance for the sector are being explored with national and international actors. A pilot financial model is being pioneered by a local commercial bank, microfinance institution and private company, which addresses company capitalization, consumer financing and FOREX hedging
- Sierra Leone has been included in the Africa Clean Energy (ACE) program being launched by DfID, which means new financing opportunities for the decentralized solar market will be made available in 2017
- Getting all key government agencies and ministries aligned on policy and regulation, including the Ministry of Energy, the National Revenue Authority, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Finance and the Standards Bureau
Minister of Energy, Henry Macauley said: “Today off-grid solar technology provides us with an opportunity to get modern energy to all those living far from the grid. Through the elimination of taxes and tariffs and creation of a ‘Green Lane’ corridor at customs, the Government has taken rapid action to speed up the importation of solar products, and to make them cheaper for consumers. But we must urgently increase investment into the sector to maximize the impact of these strong policy measures, and ensure the Energy Revolution reaches its targets. We are calling our partners in the international community to help us unlock catalytic finance to ensure we can reach 250,000 homes with modern energy by the end of 2017, and achieve power for all by 2025”.