ENGIE, a French multinational utility company, has inaugurated its first ‘PowerCorner’ mini-grid in the Zambian village of Chitandika.
The mini-grid was launched in presence of Zambian Minister of Energy, Matthew Nkhuwa, ENGIE’s leadership team as well as local stakeholders.
Chitandika, located in the East of Zambia, is home to 1,500 inhabitants, who previously were deprived access to electricity. With the installation of this first PowerCorner, ENGIE confirms its progress in off-grid renewable energy solutions to improve electricity access in Africa.
This mini-grid provides energy to households and local businesses and supports public services such as the Rural Health Centre and two schools.
ENGIE’s PowerCorner will foster economic development by enabling other electrical productive uses (such as water pumping for agriculture use or carpentry and welding machines) and by triggering business opportunities for entrepreneurs in the village.
ENGIE has successfully developed its own approach to mini-grids for the electrification of villages in Tanzania in addition to Zambia with a total of 13 mini-grids in operation and construction. ENGIE is pursuing its goal to develop 2,000 mini-grids by 2025 in Africa, enabling 2.5 million people, entrepreneurs, SMEs and local businesses to access renewable, reliable and cost-effective energy.
As part of its decentralized energy developments, ENGIE is also expanding Fenix, its solar home system business. Since the launch of its operations in Zambia in October 2017, ENGIE Fenix has reached 70,000 customers in the country, supplying 350,000 people with clean lighting and power. To date, Fenix has sold over 400,000 solar home systems across Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Benin, changing the lives of over 2 million people.
“At ENGIE, we believe that universal access to electricity is possible in the foreseeable future thanks to a smart combination of national grid extensions, mini-grids and solar home systems, depending on the local characteristics of energy demand,” said Isabelle Kocher, CEO of ENGIE.
“ENGIE is already present along the whole spectrum of solutions with its subsidiaries PowerCorner and Fenix for off-grid solutions, and utility-scale grid connected generation such as Kathu, our 100 MW concentrated solar power plant in South Africa. Within a constantly changing world, it is ENGIE’s role to make a cost-efficient zero-carbon transition possible for the benefit of the African population,” she added.
Today, more than 600 million people or 60% of the population living in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity.
ENGIE’s goal is to provide 20 million people around the world with de-carbonised, decentralized energy supply by 2020 using the latest digital technologies.