An international joint venture led by Powergrids has a goal of investing US$100 million into an off grid solar project that aim to power the cities of Gemena, Bumba and Isiro that are located in DRC’s northern region which currently has no connection to the country’s power network.
An electrical network company under the government Gridworks along with Madrid developer AEE Power and a French company, Eranove, have secured three 22 year concession agreements from the Ministry of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity of the Democratic Republic of Congo for the off grid solar power project worth $100 million.
The objectives of the consortium are that of the development, building and operation of three large scale solar hybrid off grid utilities as mentioned by Gridworks in a statement.
It was stated that the initial investment for the three sites will be at least nearly US$100 million that will be funded by a portion of equity from the consortium, debt provided by development finance institutions (DFIs) and capital grants from donors.
As a preferred bidder the consortium was selected in the frame of a tender held under the umbrella of the Essor Access to Energy (A2E) initiative which is funded by a UK government programme launched and created in 2019 to assist and support the government of DRC in the country’s mini grid auction and project preparation process.
The organisation is also in talks with both the Emerging Infrastructure Fund and the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the provision of debt finance and also for the potential provision of grants with the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), the Rockefeller Foundation and the AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa.
As reviewed by the latest figures from the International Renewable Energy Agency, DRC only had 20MW of installed PV capacity at the end of 2020 and so the country has one of the lowest levels of access to electricity in the world with only 9% of the population being supplied with power.
In rural areas the percentage drops far to 1% and has an installed capacity of just 2.67 GW of which 2.54 GW comes from hydropower and 135 MW from thermal power.
The three cities in the DRC are to be supplied power by the organisation as there has been a shortage of connection in electrical power network and this is a golden move as industries, small and large businesses will be able to start operating in those three cities and can improve on power supply as time goes on and renovations progress.