renewable city
renewable city
An additional 50 clean power solution companies will be awarded grants. Pic credit: radio timisoara

In Africa, 11 companies across Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia have been awarded a combined $1.1 million to expand their renewable energy solutions to communities who are currently living off-grid.

The grants, which have been awarded by GE Africa in conjunction with the US African Development Foundation (USADF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will see each winner receive up to $100,000, Power Africa said in a statement.

The awards were announced during President Obama’s visit to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi.

The Off-Grid Energy Challenge

This competition forms part of Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which aims to expand access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people still lack basic access to electricity.

Power Africa’s Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which is part of the Beyond the Grid Initiative and funded by GE Africa, USADF and USAID, drives alternative solutions to increasing access to reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.

According to Power Africa, the Off-Grid Power Challenge has allocated $5 million for distribution and now in its third year, will extend the $5 million and 50 awards to energy entrepreneurs in nine African countries across the Continent.

The Off-Grid Challenge will award  grants to African companies, which provide off-grid clean power solutions and drive economic growth.

Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz commented: “We received an overwhelming response to this challenge from African entrepreneurs with creative solutions to Africa’s energy crisis.”

“These grants provide these companies with the funding they need to scale their businesses and deliver results for their communities.”

Wining companies

Providing over 10,000 people with clean power, the most recent winning projects include:

  • Five solar systems
  • Three biogas generation projects
  • One small hydro-electricity power plant

Power Africa said: “That’s just $100 per person invested for off-grid solutions to a brighter world.”

In Kenya, Ambalian Company Ltd will install a wind turbine in a rural community in the north of the country through the Off-Grid Challenge. The wind turbine will substitute a diesel generator that is currently being used to pump water.

Rafode, a local Kenyan microfinance organisation, will provide credit to fisherman in the Lake Victoria region to purchase solar lamps, which will boost the catch from their traditional evening fishing.

In Nigeria, Ajima Farms will develop a biogas plant to provide electricity to homes and businesses currently living off the national grid.

Power Africa said in a statement: “The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is catalysing African entrepreneurs across the continent to spur innovative ideas into action to develop off-grid energy solutions.

“On July 29, Power Africa is opening up the Off-Grid Challenge to African energy entrepreneurs finding solutions to the power deficit in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.”

USADF will announce winners from these three east African countries in November and according to Power Africa will announce two additional grantees in Liberia, bringing the total to $2.2 million for Round III of the challenge and $5 million total over the three year initiative.

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