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Issue 398 - 30 August 2019

Liberia: Small hydro contractor sought


Liberia’s Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) invites sealed bids by 25 October for the design, supply and construction of the 2.5MW Kaiha 2 small hydropower plant on the Kaiha River, near Kolahun, in Lofa County. The contract is to be financed by the World Bank under the Liberia Renewable Energy Access Project. The hydropower plant is the pilot project of the World Bank scheme, which is designed to expand access to electricity in remote areas and to promote the use of renewable energy, while reducing the use of imported fuel.


Kampala-based off-grid solar company SolarNow has closed a $9m receivables financing facility arranged by specialist debt arranger SunFunder. The facility used SunFunder’s structured asset finance instrument, with money raised from co-lenders responsAbility and Oikocredit.


Wärtsilä has signed an engineering, procurement and construction contract to build a 48MW gas power plant supplying Bua Group’s Sokoto cement plant in northern Nigeria. The plant will run primarily on liquefied natural gas (LNG) with low pour fuel oil as a back-up. Wärtsilä has been targeting the thermal market in Africa with its integrated gas power and LNG regasification technology in recent years.The power plant will supply a new cement line at the Sokoto facility using five Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engines, complementing two heavy fuel oil (HFO) plants already operating at the site, which is entirely off-grid.


London-based private equity firm Helios Investment Partners led a $55m funding round in January for Off Grid Electric, a solar home system provider with Silicon Valley origins. The round, supported by General Electric Ventures and existing investors, is believed to be the biggest equity investment to date in the off-grid power sector. “As the largest private equity firm exclusively focused on Africa, energy access is a priority theme for Helios,” Helios co-founder and managing partner Tope Lawani said.


Mobisol has teamed up with West African solar distributor Baobab+ to provide pay-as-you-go solar systems in Côte d’Ivoire. A joint statement said the cooperation combined Mobisol’s strengths in provision of solar hardware and software with Baobab+’s regional experience in customer finance and distribution. Baobab+ was launched in 2015 by microfinance services provider Microcred Group, which has a network of 20 branches and 100,000 clients in Côte d’Ivoire. Mobisol will provide hardware and software, while Baobab+ will focus on sales and distribution.

Côte d'Ivoire

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has issued a general procurement notice for the Nigeria Electrification Project, which is funded by the African Development Bank. The project has four components and bid documents are expected to be issued in April. Component one will support private sector solar hybrid mini-grids in areas with high economic growth potential through a minimum subsidy tender. The work specifically targets 105,000 households and 20,000 businesses. Some 15 mini-grid operators are likely to be procured.


Togo is embarking on a country-wide solar rural electrification programme to bring power to 293 towns and villages in the country’s five regions. Known in French as Programme de Valorisation de l’Energie Solaire, or Proves, the scheme envisages the installation of solar photovoltaic systems to electrify 293 towns and villages in the Savanes, Kara, Centrale, Plateaux and Maritime regions.


The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy will release tender documents in April for consultants to assist with a green mini-grid programme. The work is being funded by a grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (Sefa) and comprises two components. The first is to develop an enabling environment and build capacity for mini-grids. This will support new institutional arrangements, market stimulation initiatives for private operators to supply affordable power, the categorisation of mini-grid projects, permiting and concession arrangements, technical standards, tariff models, and the relationship with the grid.

Issue 399 - 13 September 2019

Mobisol: the latest string to Engie’s bow


French energy giant Engie claims to have become the market leader in off-grid solar in Africa following the acquisition of Germany’s Mobisol. When the transaction closes, which is expected in October, Mobisol will join solar home system company Fenix International and mini-grid developer PowerCorner under the umbrella of Engie’s distributed power business. The company has been aggressively targeting the market with the intention of being able to provide the full range of electrification options to emerging countries.

Issue 412 - 26 March 2020

Renewvia Energy partners with DPI


US solar developer Renewvia Energy Corporation has teamed up with Singapore-based renewable energy investor Dream Projects Incubators (DPI) to develop solar micro-grids in Kenya and Nigeria. On 17 March, the two companies announced the formation of a special purpose entity to capitalise large portfolios of solar micro-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The first ten projects have received capital support from the French Development Bank and the World Bank, according to the partners.

Issue 377 - 28 September 2018

Kenya: Powering islands in Lake Victoria


US-based solar developer Renewvia Energy Corporation announced on 21 September that its first two micro-grid facilities are up and running on the Islands of Ndeda and Ringiti in Kenya’s Lake Victoria region. The solar-battery micro-grids, which have a total system capacity of 30kW, are the first source of sustainable power supply available to the nearly 10,000 residents and businesses of the two islands.


Solar off-grid company Distributed Power Africa (DPA) has announced the signing of a contract with solar PV panels and components manufacturer Canadian Solar for the supply of PV technology to be used in hybrid products for the African market. The deal is expected to help DPA, part of the Econet Group, to provide panels with a combined capacity of 25MW to clients across mostly Southern Africa for large industrial sites, the company said.


Investors led by Japan’s Marubeni Corporation have made a $26m investment in UK pay-as-you-go solar company Azuri Technologies. Azuri, which has offices in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, said the capital infusion would enable it to accelerate expansion in existing sub-Saharan Africa markets and roll out its solar lighting, TV and additional services into new markets. Azuri has sold more than 150,000 solar home systems and has adopted a comparatively cautious approach to building its business.

Issue 384 - 17 January 2019

DR Congo/Kenya/Rwanda: BBOXX investment


Off-grid solar company BBOXX announced on 13 January that Africa Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), part of Old Mutual Alternative Investments, has agreed an investment of $31m to acquire a minority stake in BBOXX’s operating companies in Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Rwanda. The investment was made by AIIM’s African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 and will allow the BBOXX companies to install 2m solar systems by 2022. AIIM chief executive Jurie Swart said the deal reflected the maturity of the off-grid sector as well as BBOXX’s ambition.

Kenya | DR Congo | Rwanda

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has published a general procurement notice for the development of solar PV plants at multiple locations with combined capacity of 500MW. Zimbabwe has been planning a major renewable power procurement for some time as the country looks to end its long-running energy crisis and reduce reliance on imported power and fuel. Solar PV plants will also help Zimbabwe manage its hydropower resources, which have been hard hit by drought.