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US invests in east African power expansion plans

On Thursday, one of Tanzania’s largest renewable power solutions firm Rex Energy, secured a grant from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) for a mini-grid project in the Lake Victoria Islands, which is shared between neighbouring countries Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

With only 1% of the Island’s population having access to electricity, the grant supports the development of a full-scale business model and financing plan necessary to implement a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grid with a total generation capacity of 2MW, the USTDA said in a statement.

In-line with the US Power Africa initiative

USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak said: “In support of the goals of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which seeks to increase energy access and promote private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa, USTDA is pleased to formalise our partnership with Rex Energy.

“This project is a great example of USTDA’s work to link U.S. industry expertise with the advancement of clean energy in Tanzania.”

MRIGlobal an independent organisation performing contract research for government and industry, will be providing all technical support for the project.

Rex Energy Managing Director, Francis Kibhisa commented: “With this grant and technical support from MRIGlobal, Rex Energy once again assumes the leadership to complement government efforts to transform rural Tanzania through solar powered electrification.

“The mini-grid system is certainly the future of rural electrification in Tanzania, and this grant from USTDA has added the required impetus, at the right time, to achieve that future: the pre-paid solar solution to the marginalised rural majority.”

Project partners

The renewable power solutions company appointed US-based MRIGlobal to conduct the feasibility study and pilot project.

According to the USTDA, the mini-grid project will include participation from additional US-based companies such as: Homer Energy, Enphase Energy and SunEdison, a major US solar PV producer and official Power Africa private sector partner.

In addition, the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory will provide expertise on renewable energy resource assessments, as well as analysis and optimisation of the mini-grid design, USTDA said.

“This effort supports Power Africa by helping to increase access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa. Implementation of the project would help to electrify an estimated 5,900 households and businesses, delivering power to more than 37,000 Tanzanians in the Lake Victoria region”, the USTDA said in a statement.

 

EAPIC-760X60