Nigeria fights back for its power through solar technology

Nigeria fights back for its power through solar technology

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Thirteen Nigerian-owned enterprises have emerged as winners of the 2021 Nigeria off-grid energy challenge and will receive $100k funding.

The annual Challenge is a multi-year partnership between USADF and All On to identify and scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria.

The winners of the fourth edition of the Challenge are A1 Power Technologies, Alabaster Agro-Allied Industries, Bols N Sels Technologies, CeeSolar Energy, Elvees Engineering, Enercity Smart Grid, First Electric, GreenPower Overseas, Manamuz Electric, Novel Integrated Services, PowerStove Off-Grid Electricity, Sendavis Nigeria Limited, and Uwana Energy.

All 13 enterprises will be awarded $50,000 in convertible debt from All On, $25,000 in grant capital from USADF, and $25,000 in grant capital from All On via its support from the Rockefeller Foundation through the All On Hub. Additionally, the winners will receive technical assistance from USADF and the All On Hub and governance support from All On.

All On is an independent impact investing company that seeded funding from Shell, and currently works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for unserved and underserved off-grid energy markets in Nigeria.

Wiebe Boer, CEO, All On said, “We remain extremely encouraged that the Challenge is still able to fund another cohort of strong winners in spite of a continued challenging COVID environment.”

The Challenge is delivered through a five-year partnership between USADF, a founding member of the US-led Power Africa Initiative and an independent US Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and led enterprises

Travis Adkins, President and CEO, USADF congratulated the winners: “Congratulations to all the winners who have entered a unique club of innovative Nigerian enterprises that have come through this Challenge to make impactful contributions in the Nigerian renewable energy sector and Nigerian communities.”

“These emerging indigenous companies have proven that they have what it takes to succeed, and we are confident that their innovations will contribute to solutions that will ultimately improve livelihoods and local economies in Nigeria,” says Boer.

Eight of the 13 winning enterprises include women in leadership roles. Another key feature of the 2021 edition of the Challenge is a focus on integrating productive-use elements with cleaner energy access technologies to improve the quality of the lives and businesses in the selected communities the projects will serve.

“We extended the Off-Grid Energy Challenge partnership till December 2022 and are happy to see that this cohort has the largest number of winners since the program was initiated and a tremendous opportunity to benefit an estimated 16,000 people, including 4,000 smallholder farmers, through clean energy,” says Adkins.

The 2021 Challenge has served to pivot many projects towards directly solving pain points and challenges rather than just providing energy. The clean energy projects to be financed from the Challenge include solar-powered mini-grids, solar and gas-powered agriculture processing, food preservation and transportation solutions, solar home systems distribution, cold storage, and the combination of cold storage with mini-grids to serve the agricultural and economic needs within communities, among others.

Let’s hear from the off-grid winners in Nigeria

One of the prize winners was First Electric, a local renewable energy company that provides interconnected solar Okra pods and stand-alone home systems solutions. Bankole Komolafe, Chairman of awardee First Electric says: “First electric is pleased to have successfully secured funding to roll out an energy access project designed to ensure that underserved communities can enjoy sustainable and affordable power supply.”

Damilola Asaleye, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Ashdam Solar, one of the winners of the 2020 Challenge, said winning has transformed her company.

“Winning the Challenge meant product/service expansion and growth for us at Ashdam Solar…The funds made it possible for us to deploy our very first solar mini-grid which brought energy security and economic development to last-mile communities that have been living in darkness for over 40 years,” said Asaleye.

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