GE Africa in conjunction with the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that an additional $1.1 million has been awarded to 11 companies across Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia.
The 11 winners will each receive a grant of up to $100,000 to expand their renewable energy solutions and reach those currently not served by the grid. The awards were announced during President Obama’s trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, as part of his continued commitment to Power Africa, providing underserved communities access to energy.
The competition is part of Power Africa, a partnership-based effort to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people still lack basic access to electricity.
The Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which is part of the Beyond the Grid Initiative and funded by GE Africa, USADF and USAID, promotes innovative solutions that increase access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power. The $5m, three-year, challenge will award 50 or more grants of up to $100,000 each to African companies providing off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power economic activities. These energy entrepreneurs are finding solutions for rural communities to access power, including solar-powered mini-grids, home solar systems and revolving credit funds.
The most recent winning projects include 5 solar systems, 3 biogas generation projects, and a small hydro-electricity power plant, providing over 10,000 people did not have access before with electricity and light that. That’s just $100 per person invested for off-grid solutions to a brighter world.
In Nigeria, Ajima Farms is developing a major biogas plant to provide electricity to homes and businesses currently living off the grid.
The Off-Grid Energy Challenge is catalyzing African entrepreneurs across the continent to spur innovative ideas into action to develop off-grid energy solutions. On July 29, GE Africa and USADF opened up the Off-Grid Challenge to African energy entrepreneurs finding solutions to the power deficit in Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia. In the fall, USADF will announce the winners from the new countries as well as the two new awards in Liberia, culminating in $2.2 million for Round III of the Challenge and $5.0 million total over the three year initiative.
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