First Household Solar Pilot Kits Launched in Sierra Leone

Dec 2016
Sierra Leone, December, 05 2016 - Within the pilot scheme, micro-finance institutions (MFIs) will provide consumer financing to their customers to enable them to purchase home solar systems.

The Sierra Leone Association for Microfinance Institutions (SLAMFI) and the Renewable Energy Association of Sierra Leone (REASL) came together to launch the pioneering household solar pilot project in the country on the 1st of December.

The household solar pilot will enable 1000 families to affordably purchase clean and safe home solar units with help from the Sierra Leone financial sector build a better understanding of the business opportunities presented by the emerging solar market.

This will help in addressing financing challenges and raising awareness of the potential of the sector. The pilot project aims to unlock significant commercial capital to support the Sierra Leone energy revolution of achieving modern energy for all by 2025.

Within the pilot scheme, micro-finance institutions (MFIs) will provide consumer financing to their customers to enable them to purchase home solar systems. The solar systems will be supplied by companies in the Renewable Energy Association that are registered and certified as compliant with quality standards, and who will be able to provide after sales support to customers.

President of REASL, Sophie Johnson, said, “This is the beginning of a solid collaboration between the SLAMI and the Renewable Energy Association, which is a milestone achievement as we promote the energy revolution. This pilot project will be very instrumental in unlocking finance as we scale up energy access in Sierra Leone”.
Part of the commitment of REASL, she said, will include pre-financing 1000 home solar systems selecting 5 to 10 micro-finance institutions (MFIs) to make payments against the loan, identifying 1000 suitable customers to take loans to purchase household solar systems.

President of SLAMFI, David Kamara, said “This pilot project marks the beginning of the energy revolution as it will bring the technical power of solar to those communities that have been for decades without access to electricity. As MFI’s this is a part of our efforts to promote financial inclusion in rural communities”.
He said part of SLAMFI commitments within the pilot scheme will include assessing and selecting five companies to take part in the pilot delivering 1000 IEC quality solar products, with a minimum of four lights, phone charging capacity, and up to 2-year warranties, providing customer service following purchase, conducting training on the use of the systems to both MFIs’ and customers.

The household solar pilot project will address key financing challenges through the provision of finance to off-grid enterprises so they can make bulk order purchases of home solar systems. The establishment of industry track records so that local commercial banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs) become more comfortable making affordable loans to the emerging solar sector, and solar energy customers. The creation of financing mechanisms that can help mitigate foreign exchange risks.

The household solar pilot project was initiated following joint discussions on energy access finance between local commercial banks, MFIs, REASL, Sierra Leone Opportunities for Business Action and international financial and development institutions, including, Sunfunder, the World Bank, the UK Department for International Development, and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association. Discussions were convened by Power for All, and supported by the Sierra Leone Energy Revolution Taskforce.

Source : Awoko

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