Husk Power Systems has launched an initiative targeting the deployment of 2,500 solar mini-grids operating in off-grid and weak-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa within 5 years.
The initiative, titled, “Africa Sunshot” is expected to be financed by mobilising $500 million in equity and debt, the company said on Tuesday at the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Kenya.
Husk put forward a set of goals that significantly raised the ambitions of the mini-grid industry ahead of 2030, the deadline for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including universal energy access as part of SDG7.
The 5-year goals of the Africa Sunshot are: 2,500 operational mini-grids, 1 million new connections directly impacting 7.7 million people, 225,000 micro small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) connected, 150MW installed rooftop solar commercial and industrial (C&I), and 2.1 megatons of CO2 avoided through the displacement of diesel generation
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Manoj Sinha, Husk’s Co-founder and CEO, said that meeting the targets of the Africa Sunshot will require operational excellence from Husk, and they are ready to mobilise immediately.
“It will also need the active support of governments to get the right policies in place that integrate mini-grids as a central component of national electrification and energy transition plans.
“Finally, all investors, including development finance institutions, infrastructure funds, and commercial debt providers, must provide the appropriate quantum, tenure, and cost of capital to meet these accelerated timelines.”
Husk currently has more than 200 mini-grids in operation in Nigeria and India. Under the Africa Sunshot, Husk outlined country-specific targets, including 1,000 mini-grids in Nigeria (doubling Husk’s previous target), 500 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 250 each in four additional countries still to be identified.
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With the 10-fold increase in mind, earlier this year Husk put forward a new public-private partnership (PPP) framework, offering to mobilize financing to build hundreds of mini-grids in Africa if the right conditions are in place.
“Now is the time to support a 10-fold increase in the minigrid industry and supercharge low carbon and climate resilient growth in rural Africa,” added Olu Aruike, Husk’s Nigeria Country Director.
“We’re already doing it at scale today in Nigeria, the world’s largest off-grid market, and it’s time to roll out that scale across the continent.”