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).
Achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 is estimated to require an investment of USD 187 billion (EUR 163bn) in mini-grids globally, and sub-Saharan Africa is the main destination. Developing clever financing mechanisms and determining best policies is what the Africa Mini-grid Developers Association (AMDA) is working on. AMDA was launched in April this year, with one of the points on its agenda being the development of a Results Based Financing (RBF) fund to help mini grids gain scale, in cooperation with donors, governments and other stakeholders. Jessica Stephens, global coordinator of the association, tells Renewables Now that the African Development Bank (AfDB) is currently developing a continent-wide RBF facility that is based on the principles that AMDA outlined in its SMART RBF policy paper. AMDA and several other stakeholders that assisted in developing the initial policy paper have been asked to join the advisory committee for the AfDB fund.
According to AMDA's white paper, a mini-grid RBF facility is the best way to scale up the sector and should play a central part in any approach to providing subsidies for private utilities in Africa. Via such a facility, companies that develop projects to connect customers to power get a fixed rebate per connection installed to ease the capital cost of the project. AMDA notes that although there are several RBF programmes targeted at the mini-grid sector at the moment, most are restrained by complex evaluation and approval processes.
President Mulatu Teshome holds talks with Chinese Chairman of Chinese National Building Material Co. Ltd (CNBM) Song Zhiping about projects of investment in building materials and solar power equipment on Tuesday.
Briefing journalists yesterday Song told that the main discussions of the meeting were manufacture of building materials, prefabricated houses and solar power equipment among areas of investment, according to ENA and NNN.
He added that CNBM is interested to spend in the construction of rural houses and electricity generating facilities in Ethiopia’s rural areas that do not have access to electricity.
Company’s innovative project investment platform has captured over 550 mini-grid projects being developed by 50 private sector utilities in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Odyssey Energy Solutions , the leading platform connecting private mini-grid developers and investors, announced that its pipeline had surpassed 550 projects, requiring a total estimated investment of more than USD $500 million.
Decentralized renewable energy solutions like mini-grids are the least-cost option for bringing electricity to more than 70 percent of the world’s 1 billion people currently living without access to basic power, most of whom live in rural areas in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. It is estimated that up to 200,000 mini-grids will be needed to lift these people out of energy poverty.