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civil society to achieve Sustainable
Energy for All by 2030
Mini-grid Funding Opportunities – March 2016
COMING SOON: Third Call for Mini-Grid Proposals by EnDEV Rwanda
Energising Development (EnDev) has been active in Rwanda since 2006, working on scaling energy access through the private sector. Since 2014, EnDev Rwanda has supported investments in retail solar systems and mini-grids of 5-100 kW in the country utilizing results-based financing.
In November 2014, EnDev Rwanda published its first open call for mini-grid proposals. Companies could apply on a rolling basis and freely select their project location. Results based financing (RBF) grants of up to 70% of investment costs were offered, depending on the level of service provided by the mini-grid. They were partially disbursed upon commissioning, with the rest being distributed over the first year of operation. While the interest in mini-grids was high, only two companies submitted a complete application. These two companies signed RBF contracts in the fall of 2015: MeshPower, constructing 20 solar PV DC village grids, and ECOS, constructing an 11 kW hydropower village grid. Both companies have started the procurement of equipment and construction, and the projects are planned for completion in 2016.
In September 2015, a new regulation on mini-grids enhanced legal security. EnDev Rwanda launched a second call for proposals at the end of the year, and over a three-month period also offered a series of four full day training workshops on developing technically, economically and financially sound mini-grid project proposals. Additionally, EnDev Rwanda provided individual coaching for project developers to overcome existing capacity constraints in the private sector. In this way, the quality of the resulting eight project proposals currently under evaluation could be significantly increased.
Challenges remain in coordination with the existing grid extension program, to avoid companies investing in mini-grid project development only to find out later that the grid will arrive at the selected location soon. This situation is expected to improve in the near future, once Rwanda’s new Rural Electrification Strategy has been approved. The Strategy will include clear earmarking of on-grid areas targeted by the public grid extension program (EARP), and off-grid areas to be targeted by the private sector.
Rwanda offers a general import duty exemption for solar and wind equipment, but special equipment such as control units and smart meters require a confirmation from the Ministry of Infrastructure that they are part of a solar mini-grid in order to receive duty-free status.
Other issues revolved around community payment. One selected company planned to collect the connection fees with the onset of the construction phase. While customers were willing to contribute with labor and small amounts of money, they were only willing to cover the full connection fee at the start of operation of the mini-grid. This forced the company to look for an additional bank loans for the resulting gap in funding.
EnDev Rwanda is planning a third call for proposals by mid-May 2016, depending on the outcome of the second call and the approval of the Rural Electrification Strategy.
For more information, please see here.
Second “Solar for All” Contest Now Open for Applications, Deadline May 1, 2016
Proposals are invited for PV solar electrification solutions to provide a scalable number of low-income communities with power. The most innovative and promising solutions will be selected for the award. The first prize is a 400,000 Euro loan for 8 years at 6 percent interest without any collateral requirement. The runner-up will receive a special prize of 10,000 Euros from the Siemens Stiftung as well as an offer of membership in their international “Empowering People Network” support program that promotes technological and entrepreneurial approaches for sustainable development.
Developers, system integrators, owners or operators of existing or planned solar electrification solutions for communities, particularly in rural areas of developing and emerging regions, are especially encouraged to apply. Applications are welcome from all countries. More information on eligible concepts and instructions on the applications can be found here.
Short Video Contest 2016: “Showcasing Community Solar Electrification Solutions”, Deadline May 1, 2016
The Canopus Foundation is now also accepting applications for the “Showcasing Community Solar Electrification Solutions” Short Video Contest 2016 (formerly “Showcasing Village Grids” Contest) alongside the second “Solar for All” Contest. One outstanding short video on the topic of community solar electrification will be chosen to win a 2,000 Euro prize and will be showcased to the expert jury and other participants at the second “Solar for All” awards ceremony to be held at Intersolar India 2016 in Mumbai later this year. Anyone wishing to share his or her ideas, stories and/or experiences on community solar electrification is invited to participate. The submission deadline for short videos is May 1, 2016. Participation in the second “Solar for All” Contest does not require participation in the video contest and vice versa. More information on the video contest, including instructions on how to apply can be found here.