22 innovators from six African countries have emerged winners of the second round of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge sponsored by General Electric (GE), United States Africa Development Foundation (USADF) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). They will receive a grant of $100,000 each for initiating off-grid solutions that deploy renewable resources and power socio-economic activities. The initiative is part of Power Africa, the U.S. government-led initiative, to drive growth by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power and by helping to ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources.
- Each of the 22 winners will receive grants of up to $ 100,000.
- The challenge has expanded from two to six countries and from six grants to 22 grant recipients.
- Winners were chosen for demonstrating new business models to deliver sustainable, renewable energy to under-served, marginalized populations.
In November last year, three winners each from Nigeria and Kenya were awarded Six grants totaling $ 600,000. This year, the program has been expanded to include Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana and Liberia. Organizers received about 300 applications from the six countries. Speaking about the awards, Jay Ireland GE Africa President & CEO said, “we are impressed by the response to our call for entries and more so with the caliber of entries especially from the countries that are participating for the first time. This once again demonstrates that with the right support, the people of Africa can develop home-grown solutions for themselves.”
The winning entries provide a diverse array of solutions targeted at rural and urban populations underserved by existing utility companies in the six countries. Jamii Power Ltd from Tanzania’s winnersaims to expand an existing 11-Kilowatt solar mini-grid to 33 kilowatts in capacity to provide electricity to an entire village in Masurura, rural Tanzania. Pfoofy Power & Light Limited in Kisumu, Western Kenya wants to expand its innovative “Ecotran” electric motorcycle pilot, installing two ten-kilowatt service stations to charge 40 electric motorcycles for rural transportation hire. Quintas Renewable Energy solutions Ltd in Nigeria is manufacturing and installing a 500 kilowatt biomass power plant to run on forestry and agricultural residue in Ofosu, Ondo State, Nigeria, benefitting a target population of 230 households, 30 commercial entities, four cottage industries, and four schools.
Already the winners from the first round in Nigeria and Kenya have started impacting their respective communities with energy solutions. Green Village Electricity (GVE) is providing solar powered energy to over 70 homes and hundreds of inhabitants of Egbeke community in Rivers state in the southern part of Nigeria. Indigo another winning company from Kenya is equally using solar energy to provide a system with two lights and cell phone charging capability for a rural community in Kenya (Vicky provide name of community). This system has now replaced the use of kerosene lamps in this community. The final round of the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge will take place next year.