Renewables developer Statkraft partners SolarAid to address energy poverty in Africa through solar power

AFRICA – European renewable energy developer Statkraft is partnering with the international development charity SolarAid to address energy poverty through solar power in sub-Saharan Africa over the next three years.

In the agreement, Statkraft will give US$2.7 million in cash and equipment in that time to support SolarAid’s work and the donations will go towards providing clean, safe and simple solar lighting in an effort to ensure that by 2030 all homes, schools, and clinics have energy access in the region.

According to Statkraft, 548 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are currently living in energy poverty and the International Energy Agency, in a worse case theory painted in their Stated Policies Scenario, expects that number to increase to 630 million by 2030 because of the economic slowdowns precipitated across Africa by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The donation made to SolarAid follows Statkraft acquiring Solarcentury, a renewable energy company and founder of SolarAid.

The donation also forms part of the efforts by Statkraft to support progress to reach SDG7 to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and to combat climate change.

John Keane, Solar Aid CEO, said: “While grid electrification is not going to reach most of rural sub-Saharan Africa in our lifetimes, the solar light revolution is taking place right now, helping light up millions of homes, which would otherwise be kept in the dark. Together we can end the darkness.”

The money and equipment will target regions or households that are currently relying on expensive, dangerous and toxic lighting sources such as candles and kerosene.

Health care facilities will be able to benefit from the donation with healthcare workers being able to conduct life-threatening procedures in light and store vaccines such as those for COVID-19 in solar-powered fridges for safe administering.

“While grid electrification is not going to reach most of rural sub-Saharan Africa in our lifetimes, the solar light revolution is taking place right now, helping light up millions of homes, which would otherwise be kept in the dark”

John Keane – CEO, SolarAid

Christian Rynning-Tønnesen Statkraft CEO, said solar power is a simple and cost-effective solution for those who have no choice but to rely on kerosene or candles:

“We are delighted to be working with a charity with such a critical mission. This partnership was sparked with the acquisition of Solarcentury in 2020 and we are happy to work with SolarAid to help ensure access to modern energy for all.”

This comes as FSD Africa Investments (FSDAi), the investment arm of FSD Africa, is investing US$4.5 million in Nithio FI, a renewable energy financing intermediary focused on the Pay as You Go (PAYG) off-grid solar sector.

The intermediary provides renewable energy solutions for households and small businesses in Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Over the next five years, Nithio FI aims to provide financing to more than 224,000 energy access products across the continent, including solar home systems (SHS) and productive use appliances.

Still in energy renewables energy, The Africa Renewable Energy Fund II (AREF II) has also raised US$180 million from seven investors.

The fund, managed by Berkeley Energy, will finance renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa.

The US$180 million fund will focus on the development, construction and operation of renewable energy assets and technologies across sub-Saharan Africa.

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