Millions of workers stand to benefit from new jobs in the solar industry. But experts still see challenges that could…
plan for achieving universal electricity access nation wide by 2025.
Portuguese electric utility company EDP is investing €500,000 ($592,000) in the development of solar energy projects to help ease energy poverty in Africa.
The funding will be issued through the Access to Energy (A2E) Fund to help some 30,000 people in five countries, including; Angola, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Malawi, to have access to affordable and clean electricity.
The A2E Fund invests in initiatives in five priority areas – education, health, agriculture, companies, and community – and values assessment criteria such as social impact, partnerships, sustainability, the potential for expansion, and financial viability. In this funding round, seven projects were shortlisted from a total of the 115 that submitted proposals to participate.
Each of the projects in this new edition received between €25,000 ($30,000) and €100,000 ($118,000).
Funding from EDP will be used to help rural schools, health centers, and agricultural communities to access free and affordable electricity and water. The Viva con Agua project in Sankt Pauli will develop a solar energy system to power its water desalination plant. Once complete, the desalination project will provide water to a community school in Catuane, free water services to some 750 students whilst another 750 people will have the opportunity to purchase clean water at an affordable price.
The Luwire Wildlife Conservancy will construct a solar project that is expected to benefit 380 people directly. The project will power a school, a health center, and agricultural irrigation system in Niassa by providing electricity for lighting, mobile phone charging, water purification, and medicine preservation.
Two projects in Nigeria have also been selected to benefit from the funding. The Koolboks project will develop a solar system to power refrigerators for fishing projects carried out by women in Lagos. Almost 30% of fish is lost due to the lack of adequate refrigeration systems in the area and as such, the project aims to empower saleswomen to address the challenge. In total, 150 Koolhome solar coolers are planned to be installed in eight markets, impacting around 120 saleswomen. In addition to fish, other perishable products such as meat or vegetables can be kept safe with this system.
The ColdHubs project has a similar purpose to that of the Koolboks initiative as it will also aim to power refrigeration systems for women selling perishable products including fruits and vegetables. Once the project is complete, saleswomen will be able to prolong the life of these foods from two to 21 days. The project will directly impact the activities of 300 farmers and small traders.
In Rwanda, the OffGridBox project will use EDP funds to provide energy and clean water to six refugee camps, whilst ADDP Angola‘s project has the mission to replace diesel generators, which are highly polluting and have very high costs, with a renewable energy system to supply two schools in communities in the provinces of Bié and Cubango.
The DAAP Malawi project will create a solar energy system to supply a vocational training school resulting in an increase in school hours and easier access to the internet. Find out more about the selected projects here. Since the launch of the A2E Fund in 2018, EDP has directed almost €1 million ($1.2 million) to help some 13 projects to improve access to energy and quality of life for some 65,000 people.