SEforALL backs mini-grid deployment in Sierra Leone and Madagascar
SEforALL is backing mini-grid deployment in Sierra Leone and Madagascar. Image: Pixabay.

The Universal Energy Facility, a results-based financing facility managed by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), is now open – with its first wave devoted to supporting mini-grid deployment in Sierra Leone and Madagascar.

As of 21 October, companies seeking results-based finance for mini-grid projects in Sierra Leone and Madagascar can apply for pre-qualification to the facility. Under this wave, the Universal Energy Facility will disburse $3 million in grant payments to deliver over 6,900 electricity connections based on a results-based incentive of $433 per electricity connection.

SEforALL, in collaboration with several donors and partners, including the Rockefeller Foundation, Shell Foundation, Power Africa, Good Energies, UK aid, Carbon Trust and Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA), established the facility in response to growing demands from the energy access sector for results-based financing.  

Download webinar recording: The African minigrid market: Progress and obstacles

“There is already evidence of results-based approaches accelerating the delivery of energy connections in African countries. Drawing on countries’ insights, Sustainable Energy for All is not only advocating for the widespread adoption of results-based financing, we are taking action into our own hands,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.

Wave 1 of the facility focuses on accelerating electricity connections through mini-grids. By tackling one of the most challenging energy technologies in its first wave, the Universal Energy Facility will demonstrate the effectiveness of results-based financing for making energy projects viable. The facility will expand in its next waves to include solar home systems and clean cooking solutions, with a goal of catalysing 2.3 million energy connections by 2023.

“We support the Universal Energy Facility because it’s designed to scale and to be here for the long-term, until universal energy access has become a reality,” said Sam Parker, CEO of Shell Foundation. “We believe an effort of this size can be most effectively championed and coordinated by the Sustainable Energy for All team in their next Decade of Action.”

As Programme Manager of the facility, SEforALL spent the last few months finalizing the incentive support for mini-grids under this wave, establishing governance, legal and administrative structures for the facility, securing support from government partners in the facility’s Wave 1 countries, and setting up the online platform for managing project applications, connection validations and disbursements.

The SEforALL team also undertook extensive analyses in collaboration with facility partners to create a model for determining potential emissions savings enabled by the facility. The facility is now accepting applications from project developers and companies. As a first step, interested companies should register for pre-qualification here.