minigrid-Kenya
SEFA wins award for providing financial and developmental support for a solar hybrid mini-grid project in Tanzania. Pic: Mini-grid in Kenya

In East Africa, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), a $90-million multi-donor facility, was awarded “Power Transaction of the Year” for its role in financing the development of an independent solar hybrid mini-grid project in rural Tanzania.

The award was received by Stella Mandago, Senior Energy Expert, The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, Tanzania last week at the East African Power Industry awards gala, in Nairobi Kenya.

SEFA facilitates project funding

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), at the end of 2014 SEFA approved a preparation grant for joint venture Jumeme-Rural Power Supply to develop a mini-grid project.

The mini-grid project will operate mainly off solar power, which will  expand rural electrification in the northwestern part of the country—Tanzania currently has an energy access rate of 21%, according to the AfDB.

The first phase of the mini-grid project  will supply power to an estimated 82,000 people, which makes up 11,000 households, 2,600 businesses, 42 public offices, 32 schools, 12 health centers and 77 religious buildings.

Growing and developing communities

According to the Bank, an additional 500 new businesses are also expected to be created following the implementation of the first phase of the project.

Managing Director of Terra Projects Renewable Energy, Leo Schiefermueller, one of the three partners of the project said, “SEFA is a key partner in the successful implementation of our rural electrification projects in Tanzania which will provide energy services to hundreds of thousands of people in the coming years.”

In response to the award, SEFA Coordinator, Joao Duarte Cunha said: “This achievement is the culmination of the team’s hard work and dedication over the last three years to make SEFA a key initiative on the continent.

“In addition, the successful partnership with Jumeme is the best possible start for SEFA’s emerging work in clean energy mini-grids.”

Expanding green projects

SEFA launched the first grant phase of a green mini-grid market development programme after seeking proposals, which closed in July.

The project, which will be implemented by the SE4All (Sustainable Energy for All) Africa Hub, will provide support to government and project developers in order “to create a favourable enabling environment for scaling up mini-grid investment and strengthen the ecosystem for the emergence of a thriving GMG sector in Sub-Saharan Africa”, the AfDB said in a statement.

Home page pic: Mini-grid in Kenya