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Investment firm InfraCo Africa has signed an agreement with renewable energy company Equatorial Power to support the growth of solar energy infrastructure in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda. Both companies have committed to invest $1.7 million to scale Equatorial’s innovative solar mini-grid model in these two countries.
The new alliance between InfraCo Africa and Equatorial aims to electrify rural areas via clean energy and roll out agri-processing in the DRC and Rwanda. The companies will jointly develop four new solar mini-grids and four agri-processing hubs (APHs) in Idjwi Island in the DRC, along with four solar mini-grids and three APHs in southeast Rwanda.
The mini-grids, ranging in size from 60 kW to 85 kW, will incorporate battery storage facilities to manage the fluctuations in solar radiation during cloudy or rainy days in the countries. It is expected that the project will deliver about 3,300 connections to low-income customers in the DRC and 2,500 connections in Rwanda. This will give a boost to the electricity access policy in the two countries by providing over 35,000 people with clean energy access by 2023.
InfraCo Africa, a part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has leveraged a $1.35 million capital from PIDG Technical Assistance (PIDG TA) to support the project. For its part, the World Bank has committed to providing $1.054 million in funding for the project rollout in the DRC.
Nabil Saimi, Head of Business Development at InfraCo Africa, said the company has a strong track record of delivering mini-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa. InfraCo brings its expertise to Rwanda and DRC for delivering access to clean power. The investment company supports Equatorial’s innovative approach to coupling power access with agri-processing.
Equatorial Power owns and operates APHs and offers local communities access to water purification, cold storage, fish drying, and maize milling. The company is creating an anchor load for the mini-grid whilst closing gaps in local value chains, offering business incubation programs designed to foster productive use of clean energy, along with promoting economic development in central and eastern Africa.
Dario Fallara, Head of Business Development at Equatorial Power, said, “We are happy to have the right partner to accompany us on our journey to go beyond electrons and offer modern and sustainable rural infrastructure services to the people of DRC and Rwanda.”