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EU cash will fund solar lights for fishers

The Electrification Financing Initiative has announced it will award €1.5 million each to two French firms and a Tanzanian business operating in Benin, Uganda, Tanzania, Togo, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

Solar-powered lights for small-scale commercial fisherfolk in Tanzania and Uganda will be among the clean energy products to be rolled out thanks to a new €4.5 million slice of EU funding for Africa.

The European Union-funded Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI) will evenly split the money between three solar companies under the funding round, with Tanzanian business Simusolar Inc among the beneficiaries.

Simusolar is financing affordable solar lights for fisherfolk and water pumps for small scale farmers in its home market and neighboring Uganda and will put the €1.5 million towards its goal of benefiting more than 27,000 smallholders.

French businesses Sunkofa SAS and Myjoulebox will also receive €1.5 million each to develop clean energy solutions in Africa, with Benin the initial focus of both companies.

Sunkofa has said it will use part of its award to finance 40 mini grids in the nation, together with Florida-based WindGen Power USA, which installs small scale solar and wind facilities in the developing world. The mini-grids project, awarded by U.S. Congress foreign aid agency Millennium Challenge Corporation last summer, is set to begin this year and reach commercial operation within 12 months.

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The French company said any remaining funds from the ElectriFI cash would go towards other mini-grid developments in sub-Saharan Africa.

Myjoulebox said its award would be put towards a target of adding 31,000 new electricity connections for 155,000 consumers as it bids to strengthen its market position in Benin ahead of expansion into neighboring Togo and Burkina Faso and regional neighbor Senegal. The French business, which has installed renewables generation capacity of 1.3 MWp to date, said it also intends to hire 200 new staff.

Launched in 2015, the €215 million ElectriFI fund has 33 portfolio investments and has devoted more than €60 million to projects in Africa, Asia, and South America.

Each of the newly approved projects falls under ElectriFI’s remit, which includes supporting the roll-out of mini-grids, solar home systems, independent power producers, and off-grid renewables plants.

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Source: pv magazine