Announcement - REPP backs ground-breaking mini-grid programmes in Sierra Leone and Uganda
London, September 30, 2021 -- More than 55,000 people will be connected to electricity for the first time through a REPP-supported project to develop Sierra Leone and Uganda's first ever large-scale mini-grid programmes.
Both countries have amongst the lowest electrification rates in the world, with most rural communities dependent on kerosene, candles, fuel wood and charcoal. Thanks to REPP's USD 2.1m senior term loan - which is being matched by the deal's lead arranger Dutch development bank, FMO - Winch Energy and NEoT Offgrid Africa are now able to progress their plans to build 25 and 24 solar mini-grids across villages in Uganda and Sierra Leone, respectively.
As well as having a significant role in providing electricity access to clean energy, the mini-grids will mitigate GHG emissions and generate other co-benefits, such as increasing productive use of energy opportunities which works as a driver for long-term economic growth in the project community, increasing the resilience of the community to climate change.
The deal is the latest in a long line of mini-grid projects to attract the support of UK government-funded REPP. The mini-grids to be used in this project have been developed by Winch Energy and are a containerised solution with canopy-mounted solar PV panels with battery storage, delivering reliable AC supply to rural areas.
Geoff Sinclair, Managing Director of REPP's investment manager, Camco Clean Energy, said:
"This loan agreement with Winch Energy and NEoT is another example of how REPP is mobilising capital and transforming the market for distributed renewables in Sub-Saharan Africa.
"As well as enabling the developers to scale up their operations, which in turn will improve the likelihood of securing more funding and building further mini-grids, the transaction can now also serve as a template for the wider rollout of mini-grids in the surrounding markets."
REPP works to mobilise private sector development activity - and investment - in small to medium-sized projects (typically up to 25MW), and is supported with £148m funding from the UK's International Climate Finance through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The original concept for the programme was developed by UN Environment (UNEP) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) in response to the UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL).
It is managed by Camco Clean Energy, a leader in renewable energy finance, which provides developers with access to various financing products, services and experience.
To date, REPP has committed £37m in co-financing for the development of 27 contracted projects covering a wide range of technologies, from solar homes systems to grid-connected solar farms and run-of-river hydropower plants.