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News Release: Kickoff of DRE Task Force

Abuja, February 15, 2018 – A Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) Taskforce to accelerate modern energy access initiatives was launched today by a coalition of partners.

DRE solutionswhich range from stand-alone systems to mini-grids and mobile solar farms – have the advantage of being readily available, affordable and immediately deployable. This allows the delivery of energy access in a number of daysversus the years it takes to site, permit, build and manage a traditional centralized fossil fuel grid systemand can be an important tool for Nigeria to better exploit the full range of its renewable energy resources, especially with delivering energy to last-mile communities.

The taskforce is comprised of over 32 members drawn from amongst government, donors, renewable energy companies, development finance institutions, investors, civil society organizations, and trade associations.

The taskforce launch is implemented in Nigeria by a collaborative partnership between the US Global Development Lab, Power Africa, USAID-Nigeria, FHI360 and Power for All. This collaboration was formed under the Scaling Off Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development, a partnership which aims to accelerate growth in the off-grid energy market to provide 20 million households in Sub-Saharan Africa with access to modern, clean and affordable electricity.

The task force is a coordination group formed to identify and implement a multi-stakeholder approach to accelerating the end of energy poverty in Nigeria. The goals of the DRE Task Force include identifying priorities and supporting specific stakeholder led actions that will accelerate the expansion of off-grid energy in Nigeria. This is in line with the goals and vision of the Nigerian Government’s commitment towards increasing power access in Nigeria and increasing the rate of electrification to rural areas.

The task force also builds upon Power for All’s Call to Action held in March 2017 in Abuja, where stakeholders in the renewable energy industry (government, private sector, civil society organizations, investors, and donor agencies) each made a set of credible commitments to take action in support of and to accelerate the DRE market.

Roseann Casey, Power Africa lead for Nigeria, said: “Power Africa’s approach is based on partnership. We value the opportunity to be part of this important dialogue with diverse stakeholders who are eager to find both opportunities and solutions in the off-grid space.”

DRE-Taskforce-Nigeria.jpg

Christina Blumel of FHI 360 said “We are very happy to have the opportunity to work with Power for All in launching the Task Force, and to see the engagement and enthusiasm around DRE in Nigeria.

“There are numerous barriers that have prevented the Nigerian DRE sector from growing to its full potential,” said Kristina Skierka, the CEO of Power For All. “The launch of this taskforce is certainly the beginning of an energy revolution that gets partners and stakeholders in the industry, working together to unlock these barriers, accelerate the market and provide energy services to last mile communities trapped in energy poverty across Nigeria for years.”

Segun Adaju, the President of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), a leading industry trade group said, “The DRE Taskforce is coming at the very right time to support scaling of off-grid energy. It will support in removing the barriers that have held back the adoption of off-grid power by bringing the relevant stakeholders. With SMART action plans, I am convinced that this initiative is what the sector requires to enhance the rapid deployment of decentralized renewable energy.”

About Power Africa

Power Africa is a U.S. Government-led initiative comprised of 12 U.S. Government Departments and Agencies, over 130 private sector companies, and 16 bilateral and multilateral development partners. Launched in 2013, Power Africa’s goals are to increase electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by adding more than 30,000 megawatts of electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections. The Power Africa Coordinator’s Office uses a USAID-led model to integrate the 12 U.S. Government Departments and Agencies into a one-stop-shop to remove barriers that impede energy development in sub-Saharan Africa and to unlock the substantial natural gas, wind, solar, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal resources on the continent. To date, Power Africa has leveraged over $50 billion in commitments from the public and private sectors, including more than $40 billion in commitments from the private sector. For additional information, please visit the Power Africa website (www.usaid.gov/powerafrica).

About Scaling Off Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development

The Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development (SOGE) is a global partnership founded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Power Africa, the U.K. Department for International Development’s Energy Africa campaign, the African Development Bank, and independent charity, the Shell Foundation. SOGE works to accelerate growth in the off-grid energy market to provide 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa with access to modern, clean, and affordable energy. For more information, visit the Scaling Off Grid Energy website (www.scalingoffgrid.org)

About FHI360

FHI 360 is a nonprofit human development organization dedicated to improving lives in lasting ways by advancing integrated, locally driven solutions. Our staff includes experts in health, education,  nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender, youth, research, technology, communication and social marketing — creating a unique mix of capabilities to address today's interrelated development challenges. FHI 360 serves more than 60 countries and all U.S. states and territories. For more information, visit the FHI360 website (www.fhi360.org)

About Power for All

Power for All is a global campaign that advances decentralized renewable energy as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access. It is present in 15 countries and has its headquarters in California, USA. As part of its commitment to driving energy revolution, the Power for All campaign, launched in Nigeria in 2016 and focuses on accelerating universal energy access via decentralized renewable energy (DRE) as the fastest, cleanest and most cost-effective solution to energy poverty. By working with the DRE ecosystem (governments, civil society, private sector, donors groups and other stakeholders) to catalyze the growth of DRE markets; Power for All leverages the power of market-based solutions to accelerate access to DRE—and the improvements in health, well-being and opportunities that comes with safe, affordable and reliable energy. For more information, visit the Power for All website (www.powerforall.org)

News release: Solar Sister joins Power for All campaign

Solar Sister, the world’s first women led social enterprise eradicating energy poverty at scale by investing in women as clean energy entrepreneurs and leaders, has joined the Power for All campaign.

“Solar Sister is proud to join the Power for All campaign. Together, we are committed to advance the largest untapped renewable energy source in the world – the power of women’s enterprise, resilience and unmatched trust networks to build a sustainable future for all”, said Neha Misra, Co-Founder & Chief Collaboration Officer of Solar Sister, which is creating a woman-driven last mile distribution network to bring the breakthrough potential of clean energy technology to some of the most underserved and remote communities around the world.

Since 2010, Solar Sister has built a thriving network of 2,630 inspiring entrepreneurs who have brought light, hope and opportunity to more than 877,000 people in Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The organization has been a global influencer through a ripple effect of Solar Sister inspired initiatives across Latin America, Asia and Africa that have benefitted from its best practices, research and advocacy. 

"Gender is such a critical part of achieving energy access and rural development, and Solar Sister has consistently been on the forefront of not only making a difference for women on the ground, but also raising the profile of the gender-energy-development connection globally," said Power for All campaign director Kristina Skierka. "We're very excited to bring more of that perspective into the Power for All campaign and to work with Solar Sister to continue shining a spotlight on gender."

As a first step in the partnership, Solar Sister and Power for All campaign partnered to develop a Gender Fact Sheet - "Decentralized Renewables: Empowering Women as Sustainable Energy Leaders” 

Hashtag #SDG5+7 #iamsolarsister #SE4ALL

New Release: Sierra Leone makes Bold Commitments to Universal Energy Access

 Power for All Country Director Ami Dumbaya addresses the crowd of Sierra Leone energy luminaries at the launch.

Power for All Country Director Ami Dumbaya addresses the crowd of Sierra Leone energy luminaries at the launch.

Freetown, 22 March -- The Sierra Leone Government, civil society and private sector joined forces today in a Call to Action on energy access. At the event, attended by the Energy Minister and leading civil society and private sector representatives, each group made powerful commitments to undertake activities that will accelerate the growth of the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) market—vital for reaching 6  million people living in energy poverty.

Stakeholders also pledged to work closely together in energy access planning and implementation to achieve targets, and speed up progress.

The commitments of the Sierra Leone Government included taking action to:

  • Enhance the ‘green lane’ tax-exempt importation system for quality solar products

  • Take action to better maintain solar streetlights and encourage Government Ministries to save money by adopting solar

  • Create a comprehensive Energy Revolution market development plan, to be launched in May 2017. That will include:

    1. Demand Creation: Public awareness campaigns to build trust and demand for solar technology

    2. Supporting the Supply Chain: Working with companies, universities and the Barefoot women to build private sector technical expertise

    3. Access to Finance: Working with local banks and development finance institutions to build innovative financing mechanisms

    4. Policy Reform: Development of clear and transparent energy access plans, and a framework for mini-grid procurement and regulation, to attract investment.

The REASL commitments included taking action to:

  • Maintain a rigorous screening process to ensure members only sell products that meet international quality standards

  • Collaborate with technical institutes and universities for the inclusion of renewable energy training into curriculum, and to develop accredited training programmes

  • Work with the Ministry of Energy to design and deliver public awareness campaigns on quality off-grid solar, connecting with Paramount Chiefs and community leaders

  • Continue to work with the Sierra Leone Association of Micro-finance Instutitions on a household solar consumer financing pilot, and engage local Commercial Banks

At the event, REASL also released policy recommendations to support the DRE market.

Civil society, donor and sector support organization commitments were also made by Oxfam IBIS, Energizing Development, Sierra Leone Business for Opportunity and Power for All. These commitments included action to:

  • Expand training support for university lecturers and government workers on DRE to include solar thermal energy and water pumping

  • Run a scholarship program for solar PV studies that targets women

  • Build awareness of off-grid solar through road shows, trade fairs, school campaigns and media

  • Track and map sector performance

  • Attract investment and funding into the decentralized renewables sector

These commitments build on the steps already taken to increase energy access following the launch of the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution in May 2016. Since that time, the sale of off-grid solar solutions in Sierra Leone has doubled, and the country has also seen the launch of one of West Africa's largest solar mini-grid programs; 50 villages will see the installation of PV mini-grids by the end of 2017.

The Call to Action and joint commitments aim to speed up the implementation of further activities, and continue to build momentum towards the country’s energy access goals.

The Minister of Energy, Henry Macauley, said: “Today the government, private sector, donors and civil society organizations unite to make solid commitments to accelerate energy access. Most importantly, these commitments will be backed by clear, achievable and specific plans and actions. There is much to be done and we must work together as a sector, alongside our local Chieftains and community groups, to end energy poverty in Sierra Leone. I call on everyone to join us so we can achieve energy for all by 2025.”

Chukwu-Emeka Chikezie, Team Leader, Sierra Leone Opportunities for Business Action (SOBA) said: “We have seen encouraging signs of progress on energy access in Sierra Leone and in support for the decentralized renewables sector, yet we can do better on all-important implementation. We need to do a better job of coordinating our combined efforts in realizing government priorities and objectives, the private sector, and communities. I hope this Call to Action spurs us all on to enhanced coordination and collaboration for combined impact.”

The Call to Action event was facilitated by the Power for All campaign, and saw presentations from various sector stakeholders, and an exhibition of decentralized renewable technologies.

 

 

NEWS RELEASE: Deutsche Bank joins Power for All campaign

NEWS RELEASE: Deutsche Bank joins Power for All campaign

Deutsche Bank AG, which recently received Green Climate Fund (GCF) financial support to launch a $3.5 billion debt fund for decentralized renewable energy, has joined the Power for All campaign.

“Deutsche Bank is happy to join the Power for All campaign. It is great to be part of this community which supports the market-building to accelerate energy access for 1.2 billion people living without electricity globally,” said Jörg Eigendorf, Global Head of Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Deutsche Bank AG.

The bank's Universal Green Energy Access Program (UGEAP), expected to last 15 years, will initially focus on Nigeria, Benin, Namibia, Tanzania and Kenya.  Besides $80 million committed by GCF, UGEAP will also include funding from SIDA and the private sector.

"Access to finance, particularly local debt, and reducing currency risk are keys to unlocking the massive potential of decentralized renewable energy in Africa," said Christine Eibs Singer, Power for All director of global advocacy. "Having a global financial institution such as Deutsche Bank join Power for All brings an important voice into our campaign that highlights to national governments and other stakeholders that distributed clean energy is positioned for commercial scale-up and is an opportunity for mainstream financiers."

 

News Release: Solar Road Show Brings the Energy Revolution to People Across Sierra Leone

FREETOWN - Dec, 21 - A series of solar fairs and activities were held across the country last week, and will continue in 2017. The ‘Solar Road Show’ was held to raise awareness of the power of decentralized solar energy as part of the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution.

Activities included fairs and events in Newton, Freetown, Waterloo and Ma dengn, and radio messages that highlight the benefits of solar power. A key focus of each solar fair was a “solar truck”, used to play music, and to power TVs, fans and fridges. A variety of solar powered lanterns, rooftop systems and phone charging equipment were also on display. The roadshow took place across the Western area and Freetown before ending at the annual Ma dengn Beach Festival.

The events enabled hundreds of people to interact with, and learn about, solar products and to meet members of the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL). Radio messages explained how the public can find out more about solar technology and where to buy solar lights, rooftop systems and appliances.

“Solar energy saves families money, and will help businesses to thrive--but many people simply don’t know that modern solar lights and products for homes and businesses exist. Making sure people are aware of the opportunity to switch to better, cheaper power is vital if we are to end energy poverty.” said, Sam Zoker, Secretary, REASL

In Sierra Leone, only one percent of homes in rural areas are connected to the central grid, and 90 percent of rural homes use battery-powered torches for light. Batteries cost on average 10-15 percent of household income, but costs can be as high as 66 percent in some regions. Once purchased, solar lanterns and home systems are powered by the sun, enabling families to make big savings. Replacing all of the batteries and kerosene used for off-grid lighting in Sierra Leone with modern, renewable off-grid solutions would enable savings of over US$105 million per year.

The ‘Solar Roadshow’ events and radio messages were organized by GIZ, Endev, Power for All, Barefoot Women, and REASL, and are a part of the Energy Revolution activities aimed at enabling 250,000 households to access solar lighting by the end of 2017, and modern energy for all by 2025.

Members of the public who would like to learn more about solar technology and where to buy solar products are advised visit a local Microfinance Bank, or contact the Barefoot Women Solar Engineers Association of Sierra Leone at Konto Line.

 

News Release: First-of-Kind Solar Pilot in Sierra Leone

 President of the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone, Sophie Johnson, and President of the Sierra Leone Association for Microfinance Institutions, David Kamara, shake hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the launch of the household solar pilot

President of the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone, Sophie Johnson, and President of the Sierra Leone Association for Microfinance Institutions, David Kamara, shake hands after signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the launch of the household solar pilot

Micro-finance Institutions and renewable energy companies unite to launch first-of-its-kind household solar pilot

Freetown, Dec. 1st, 2016 -- Today the Sierra Leone Association for Microfinance Institutions (SLAMFI) and the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL) launched a pioneering household solar pilot project.

The household solar pilot—which will enable 1000 families to affordably purchase clean, safe home solar units—will help the Sierra Leone financial sector build a better understanding of the business opportunities presented by the emerging solar market. By addressing financing challenges and raising awareness of the potential of the sector, the pilot aims to unlock significant commercial capital to support the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution goal of achieving modern energy for all by 2025.

Within the pilot scheme, micro-finance institutions (MFIs), will provide consumer financing to their customers to enable them to purchase home solar systems—bringing significant benefits to unelectrified families. The solar home systems will be supplied by companies in the Renewable Energy Association that are registered, certified as compliant with quality standards, and who will be able to provide after sales support to customers.

The pilot will also address key financing challenges, including:

  • The provision of finance to off-grid enterprises so they can make bulk order purchases of home solar systems
  • The establishment of industry track record so that local commercial banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) become more comfortable making affordable loans to the emerging solar sector, and solar energy customers
  • The creation of financing mechanisms that can help mitigate foreign exchange risks

President of, SLAMFI, Mr. David Kamara said: “This pilot marks the beginning of the Energy Revolution as it will bring the technical power of solar to those communities that have been for decades without access to electricity. As MFI’s this is a part of our efforts to promote financial inclusion in rural communities”.

President of REASL, Madam Sophie Johnson, said: “This is the beginning of a solid collaboration between the Sierra Leone Association for Microfinance Institutions and the Renewable Energy Association, which is a milestone achievement as we promote the Energy Revolution. This pilot will be very instrumental in unlocking finance as we scale up energy access in Sierra Leone”.

SLAMFI commitments within the pilot scheme include:

  • Pre-financing 1000 home solar systems
  • Selecting 5-10 micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to make payments against the loan
  • Identifying 1000 suitable customers to take loans to purchase household solar systems

REASL commitments within the scheme include:

  • Assessing and selecting 5 companies to take part in the pilot
  • Delivering 1000 IEC quality solar products, with a minimum of 4 lights, phone charging capacity, and up to 2 years warranty
  • Providing customer service following purchase (including a help desk for queries)
  • Conducting training on the use of the systems to both MFIs’ and customers

The household solar pilot was initiated following joint discussions on energy access finance between local commercial banks, MFIs, REASL, Sierra Leone Opportunities for Business Action and international financial and development institutions, including, Sunfunder, the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development, and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association. Discussions were convened by Power for All, and supported by the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution Taskforce.

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More information and interview requests

Please contact Power for All Sierra Leone Campaign Leader, Ami Dumbuya

Email: ami@powerforall.org

 

News Release: Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria - Launched

Lagos, Nov. 24, 2016 -- Today industry leaders come together for the launch of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) at the West African Power Industry Convention. The launch will be attended by guests from over 100 organizations working in, and supporting, the renewable energy sector in Nigeria.

REAN is an umbrella association for organizations working across the renewable energy spectrum within the country, including renewable energy enterprises, project developers and promoters. The association will provide a strong private sector voice to call for policies which catalyze the growth of the renewable energy market, and increase finance to the sector. REAN’s goal is for renewable energy—including solar, hydro, biomass and wind—to contribute forty percent of the national energy mix by 2030.

96 million people in Nigeria lack access to energy, by far the largest number of any country in Africa. Although Nigeria’s grid capacity is over 12,000 Megawatts (MW), only 4,500MW is available due to a chronic lack of investment. Decentralized and renewable energy solutions provide a fast and affordable way to increase power generation and energy access. Greater support for renewable solutions is also critical for meeting the country’s ambitious climate goals set out this month at COP22.

REAN’s members manufacture, install, maintain, sell and finance an array of renewable energy solutions, from rapidly deployable decentralized technologies—including household solar, renewable mini-grids and off-grid irrigation systems—to larger grid connected solutions.

REAN President, Mr. Segun Adaju, said: “At this critical time for energy and climate we are delighted so many renewable energy enterprises are coming together to support the launch of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria. It is vital for the sector to have a united voice with which to call for supportive policy, financing and regulation. We hope that many more organisations will join the association in the coming days and weeks, and join our efforts to ensure that all Nigerians can access clean, safe power.”

The launch event will include presentations on the energy sector in Nigeria, and details of the REAN structure, constitution and plans for 2017. All organizations working in the renewable energy industry are invited to join the association.

The growth of REAN has been supported by its founding members, as well as national and international organizations including the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria, Heinrich Boll Foundation, the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association and Power for All.