PowerGen, a leading distributed energy developer in Africa, has partnered with CrossBoundary Energy Access to build 28 minigrids after securing $9 million in construction financing.
Although the minigrids’ technical specifications are yet to be announced, PowerGen will develop and maintain systems to provide approximately 55,000 rural Nigerians with electricity.
Each distributed energy system will consist of PV solar and battery storage built into a special purpose vehicle, serving residential, commercial and productive use customers in parts of the country without grid electricity.
Financing and structure
Under the unique “take-out at completion” agreement, CrossBoundary will purchase the portfolio of renewable energy systems once they are operational. This guarantee allows construction financiers an easy exit, accelerating investments and development.
Under CrossBoundary ownership, PowerGen will continue to operate each minigrid, maintaining the generator assets and providing local customer service.
For the $9 million in construction financing, PowerGen has partnered with Oikocredit, Triodos Investment Management and EDFI ElectriFI.
The project is also supported by grant funding from the Nigeria Rural Electrification Agency’s Nigeria Electrification Project and The World Bank.
Deployment and impact
Despite being home to Africa’s largest economy, about 25% of Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity in rural areas.
The minigrids are designed to reduce rural communities’ use of diesel generators, which have been contributing to bad local air quality, noise pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
In total, the project is estimated to mitigate over 2,000 megatons of CO2 emissions each year, which is roughly the amount of pollution generated by 500 gasoline-fueled vehicles.
So far, PowerGen has commissioned six locations for the new minigrid deployments, including the pilot site in Rokota.
This is not the first time that CrossBoundary has helped facilitate solar minigrid development in Africa. In 2019, the financier raised $16 million for 190 renewable energy systems across Tanzania and Zambia.
By partnering with CrossBoundary, PowerGen continues to increase its market share in Sub-Saharan Africa’s renewable energy development. This partnership follows the acquisition of Rafiki Power, a Tanzanian microgrid developer also known as E.ON Off-Grid Solutions.
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