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Engie Energy Access, the subsidiary of the French group Engie, in partnership with the Switzerland-based foundation Energy Web, has launched a participatory financing platform for sub-Saharan Africa. Engie Energy Access, the leading off-grid, PayGo solar, and mini-grid solution provider in Africa has successfully launched ‘Crowdfund for Solar’ which aims to harness the potential of decentralized finance, bringing solar energy systems to energy-deficit communities.
Engie wants to solve the problem of the lack of funds for solar energy-based electrification in Africa. The crowdfunding platform will enable access to high-quality, low-cost, expandable solar home systems for households and communities, accelerating the deployment of off-grid solar energy solutions.
‘Crowdfund for Solar’ platform is hosted in the open-source infrastructure of Energy Web and allows investors to stake Energy Web Tokens (EWT) in exchange for a fixed return. According to Engie, the digital platform was tested for a two-week pilot period, with an initial funding target of US$100,000, or 20,000 EWT.
Gillian-Alexandre Huart, CEO of Engie Energy Access, said, the target for the crowdfunding platform was achieved within seven hours after its official launch. This indicates the success of the operation and signals real enthusiasm from the crypto-community to support the solution further.
Jesse Morris, Energy Web’s CEO, said, “Businesses and households will be able to benefit from a loan at a preferential rate and, in exchange, EWT’s crypto-investors will be remunerated up to 10% on their initial stake and can claim to have contributed to the promotion of an equitable global energy transition.”
The crowdfunding platform is currently targeting Zambia and Rwanda, where the rural electrification rate is estimated at 11% and 44% respectively, according to Power Africa. This operation will support the quality of life, health, and economic prosperity of the communities in remote regions. The operation is expected to expand rapidly to other sub-Saharan African countries with low access to electricity.
‘Crowdfund for Solar’ platform has the broad potential to expand to other renewable energy solutions, apart from providing loans for solar energy systems. After a one-year loan period, a full report will be made on the outcome of the financing along with the number of installations, their distribution, and verification of the demographic target set for the loan.