Amid budgetary support, the World Bank Group (WBG) has approved a commitment of USD 1.2 billion to Ethiopia this week, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – the private sector arm of the WB – said that it is working on a solar power program that will help generate 500 megawatt of electricity in the country. In an exclusive interview with The Reporter, Sergio Pimenta, vice president of IFC in the Middle East and Africa said that IFC is running a program called “Scaling Solar” in which the development financier will scale-up investments for the production of 500MW of solar power.
“IFC has launched scaling solar in Ethiopia. The project’s total scale arrays up to 500 megawatts (MW) and the first phase is 250MW. Once completed the solar project is going to be the largest in Africa,” said Sergio Pimenta.
The Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and Enel Green Power (EGP), the Italian company that is set to sign a power purchase agreement to develop a 100MW solar power plant near Metehara town in the Oromia Regional State at a cost of 120 million USD, are going to acquire land from the regional state.
In October 2017 EEP announced that the leading European renewable energy developer, Enel Green Power, has won the bid to build a 100MW solar power plant near Metehara town, located 230km east of Addis Ababa in East Shoa Zone. The area enjoys high levels of solar radiation. The company would build, own and operate the solar power plant. According to the draft agreement, EEP would buy all the electric power generated by Enel Green Power for 20 years.
The cost of the project, including a pilot project, is 600,000 dollars. The system, dubbed Pay-as-You-Go, was piloted in the Somali Regional State towns of Berket, Kebri Dahar, Degehabur and Shilappo. Eighty solar home system kits were provided to residents after registering them on the HelloSolar system.
With Ethiopia moving to a strategy which helps embrace the wisdom of solar energy within the country and play catch-up to successes achieved in neighboring nations such as Kenya and Rwanda; HelloSolar in partnership with BelCash – the mobile banking platform system – is set to introduce a pay-as-you-go system for the nation’s off-grid population with affordable solar home system. This is a jump-the-queue strategy for the company in offering such a system and becoming a pioneer in a country whose majority of population still lack basic energy. In addition, the company has launched an International Remittance payment system, to allow members of the Diaspora to pay from anywhere in the world with a credit card and convenience local clients.
For almost six months, HelloSolar has been testing a PAYGO system, bringing brand-name partners to the table such as: BelCash, Shell Foundation, DFID and USAID and Power Africa (President Barack Obama’s initiative to use renewable energy to provide basic energy across the continent).