The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) has granted $1 million to a 20 MW off-grid solar PV project in Zimbabwe.
The rooftop project which will be developed on buildings owned and managed by Old Mutual Property Group Zimbabwe countrywide is a joint initiative with Oxygen.
“This highly innovative project will provide reliable and competitive solar power to multiple SMEs throughout the country,” Ousseynou Nakoulima, AfDB’s Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency said.
It aims to compensate for the lapses of the national grid by providing reliable electricity to hundreds of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are tenants at Old Mutual premises, generating significant socio-economic benefits.
By substituting the large quantities of diesel used as a backup fuel, the project will lead to a diesel displacement of over 12 million litres annually, avoiding an estimated 33, 000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
It will save the businesses the cost of purchasing diesel, empowering them to resume, keep up or expand their commercial activities.
The project is expected to spur employment growth for around 3, 790 men and 4, 166 women as a result of availability of steady power.
Nakoulima added that working with a strong domestic financial institution will help speed up and scale the project.
SEFA is funding the technical feasibility work of the project; legal advisory in preparation of key agreements; and financial advisory towards structuring a bankable project.
The AfDB’s Africa Climate Technology Centre (ACTC) will cover the project’s environmental and social impact assessment and Grid Interconnection Study.
The off-grid solar PV rooftop project is aligned with the government of Zimbabwe’s preference for distributed energy solutions, the Zimbabwean Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset 2013); as well as Oxygen and Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s commitment to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); and the AfDB’s goal to supporting inclusive and green growth by promoting access to clean, modern, reliable and affordable energy in rural Africa.