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Top Stories – March 2016 | Energy Access Practitioner Network

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Top Stories – March 2016

Senegal plans to add 200 MW of solar power via the Scaling Solar program

Senegal is the second country to join the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Scaling Solar initiative with the aim to enhance the country’s share of solar power by 200 MW. The first auction for at least 100 MW of capacity is expected to be held this year. Under the program, the IFC will help organize competitive reverse auctions for solar, as well as provide financing and guarantees for investors in order to reduce funding risks associated with the sector. The selected bidders will be offered non-negotiable project documents, including a power-purchase agreement and a government support agreement. This signals a different approach for Senegal, as in the past the government negotiated new power projects directly with builders.


New fund for women is the next step in Kiva’s evolution

Crowdfunding platform Kiva recently partnered with the United States Department of State and the Inter-American Development Bank to launch the Women’s Entrepreneurship Fund, signaling the next step in the crowdfunding platform’s ongoing expansion into impact investing. The fund aims to enable one million women entrepreneurs to access loans ranging from $450 to $100,000 over the next five years. It will match dollar-for-dollar what “citizen lenders” give to women entrepreneurs through the Kiva website. With the fund, the partners aim to ensure further reach into rural areas where the credit gap for women is wider than urban areas.

The State Department will invest in data collection and analysis on the size and purpose of loans, and whether women come back for additional loans, to counteract the lack of decent data, including data on entrepreneurship disaggregated by gender, which makes it more difficult to support regulatory changes and empower banks to find new ways to finance female entrepreneurs. The Inter-American Development Bank Group’s Multilateral Investment Fund will bring to the partnership its expertise with regulatory issues and technical assistance to women entrepreneurs. Kiva, in turn, will rely on its network of more than 300 field partners to identify recipients and administer the loans. More than 75% of the borrowers currently funded on Kiva are women; however, as the fund ramps up, Kiva will ask those field partners to identify women-owned small and medium enterprises that need larger loans.


With a focus on financing, India increases fund allocation to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency

The Finance Minister of India recently presented the union budget for 2016 – 2017, announcing a significant investment of INR 91 billion (over US $1.3 billion) – representing an increase of INR 37 billion over the previous year – in the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), India’s government-owned lender dedicated to renewable energy. The larger balance sheet will allow IREDA to provide more lending to the private sector, enhancing its ability to provide greater debt funding. According to BRIDGE TO INDIA estimates, India is expected to add 5 GW of solar projects in 2016 and 9 GW in 2017, up from just 2 GW in 2015.


UNIDO, SICA to establish Mesoamerican Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has announced a partnership with the General Secretariat of the Central American Integration System (SG-SICA) to create a Mesoamerican Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (MCREEE). Once established, MCREEE will be part of the UNIDO-coordinated Global Network of Regional Sustainable Energy Centers and will help countries in the region develop sustainable energy markets, industries and innovation.

MCREEE will provide technical support through capacity development, knowledge management and exchange. It will feature programs on technology, policy and legislation, and investment and business promotion. It is also envisioned as a hub for technical coordination, donor harmonization and documentation of lessons learned, enabling long-term sustainability of project interventions.

In the coming months, SG-SICA and UNIDO intend to conduct a consultative preparatory process, including workshops and a needs assessment, to determine MCREEE’s added value as well as technical and institutional design. The process will also result in a project document for the first operational phase.

The mandate for MCREEE stems from a request from the SICA Council of Energy Ministers in late 2015, directing the General Secretariat to begin preparing for such a center. SICA views access to energy services as a human right, requiring respect for the environment and future generations. In this context, the objective of MCREEE aligns with the goals of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on universal energy access of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.