Jumeme Rural Power Supply Ltd, which is majority owned by RP Global, announced on 4 March that it has begun construction of the first phase of a solar-hybrid mini-grid project on Lake Victoria, Tanzania. In this initial phase the company will build eleven mini-grids which will provide around the clock power to more than 80,000 people living in 20 villages on islands on the lake. The systems will use solar photovoltaic modules with battery storage. Commissioning is scheduled for June this year.
A second phase will build a further eleven mini-grids supplying 23 villages, also with populations totalling around 80,000. Consents and permits have already been secured for the second phase and preparation is under way for implementation.
The Lake Victoria islands have become a focal point for mini-grid developers, with Absolute Energy and Renewvia both operating and building mini-grids on a number of islands on the Kenyan and Ugandan sides of the lake. Kenya Power also operates grids on Lake Victoria islands and Kenya’s Rural Electrification Agency issued tenders in November for a series of mini-grids, including systems on Lake Victoria.
“Besides the existing legal framework and the favourable solar resources, our decision to invest in Tanzania is a direct consequence of the low electrification rate in the country”, RP Global Africa director Leo Schiefermüller said. “Solar hybrid mini-grids are the least-cost electrification option, especially in rural areas and the pay-as-you-go business model of Jumeme makes electricity consumption for the customer affordable”.
“By 2023, Jumeme could supply high quality and reliable electricity to 1m Tanzanians, making this company the largest mini-grid operator in sub-Saharan Africa, if the political and regulatory situation improves for investors”, Schiefermüller said.
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