- Winners to receive up to $100,000 to support their Initiatives.
- Winners were chosen for demonstrating new business models to deliver sustainable, renewable energy to under-served, marginalized populations.
Three Kenyan and three Nigerian companies have emerged winners of the inaugural Africa GE-USADF Off-Grid Energy Challenge. The winners were announced at a grand gala event held in Lagos, Nigeria on 21st November. Each will receive grants of up to $ 100,000 to support their initiatives. The GE USADF Off-grid Energy Challenge was launched In Kenyan and Nigeria this year, with plans to expand to other African countries over the next 3 years.
Trans Africa Gas and Electric PLC, GVE Projects Limited and Afe Babalola University emerged winners in Nigeria. GVE Projects designed an 18 KW solar-powered mini-grid reaching about 140 homes in the Egbeke community of Rivers state. Trans Africa Gas and Electric PLC‘s entry was a standalone cold storage facility to allow farmers in Jos to cool and store their produce before bringing to market. The third winner, Afe Babalola University, plans to generate 2.5 megawatts of electricity through a renewable hydro-electric power system that will serve over 10,000 members of the university community and beyond.
The three Kenyan winners are Solar World (E.A) Limited, Afrisol Energy Limited and Mibawa Suppliers.
Solar World (E.A.) Limited submitted a proposal to construct 5 solar-powered water points in Samburu County in Northern Kenya. Afrisol Energy Limited’s entry was a proposal for the construction of a bio-digester to produce electricity and biogas in the slums of Nairobi. Finally Mibawa Suppliers Limited’s proposal was to distribute IndiGo lights, using an innovative ‘rent to own’ model, to replace kerosene lamps for low-income households in rural areas.
General Electric (GE) teamed up with the U.S Africa Development Foundation (USADF) to launch this competition earlier this year in order to address the need of marginalized African communities not reached by the national grid. President and CEO, GE Africa, Jay Ireland said “we are excited about the high caliber of entrants and the innovativeness in the solutions being presented to the Off Grid Energy Challenges in the respective countries”. He said this initiative has once again proven that with the right partnerships, Africans can develop home-grown solutions to the challenges they face.
The President of the United States Africa Development Foundation (USADF) Shari Berenbach said” the judges carefully evaluated more than 150 applications to arrive at the eventual winners. We looked out for applications that demonstrated new business models to deliver sustainable, renewable energy to underserved, marginalized populations.” She disclosed that more than 50% of the applications involved some form of solar energy, while others were based on hydro, wind, bio-fuels among others. According to Shari, companies whose products demonstrate creativity and innovative approaches to metering, payment, collections or transmission also received special attention.
Over the next 3 years, more than 20 individuals and indigenous African companies who come up with innovative solutions to address the Energy challenges of African communities and businesses stand a chance of winning up to USD 100,000 in grants to support their initiatives.
The competition is part of the Power Africa initiative announced by President Barack Obama during his recent visit to Africa. The Power Africa initiative seeks to drive growth in Africa by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power and by helping to ensure responsible, transparent and effective management of energy resources on the continent.
USADF, a public corporation in the U.S. federal government, funds African enterprises, cooperatives and community-based organizations to build capacity and expand economic activities. In 17 countries with over 350 project grants, USADF is benefiting more than a million and a half Africans. USADF operates as the only US agency exclusively centered on an African-led, grassroots development model to encourage shared prosperity.
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GE Africa, a subsidiary of General Electric, Inc., delivers innovative technology solutions for regional challenges to help its customers support growth throughout the continent. In particular, GE Energy is providing a host of advanced solutions in water, oil & gas, and energy delivery technologies, with a focus on innovative localized energy solutions.