In a significant commitment to drive climate-resilient economic growth in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, Husk Power Systems unveiled the “Africa Sunshot” initiative, aiming to have 2,500 net-zero mini-grids operational in off-grid and weak-grid communities within the region over the next five years. The initiative, announced during the inaugural Africa Climate Summit, sets ambitious goals to elevate the mini-grid industry’s efforts toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including universal energy access.
The 5-year objectives of the Africa Sunshot include:
- 2,500 Operational Minigrids: Extending energy access to underserved communities.
- 1 Million New Connections: Directly benefiting 7.7 million individuals.
- 225,000 Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Connected: Boosting economic opportunities.
- 150MW Installed Rooftop Solar Commercial and Industrial (C&I): Advancing sustainable energy practices.
- 2.1 Megatons of CO2 Emissions Avoided: By displacing diesel generation.
In Sub-Saharan Africa’s 33 least developed countries (LDCs), electrification rates stand at a mere 36%. According to the World Bank, fulfilling the energy needs of 380 million people in the region by 2030 necessitates the construction of over 160,000 mini-grids at a total cost of $91 billion. Current progress indicates that only around 12,000 new mini-grids will serve 46 million people by 2030. Husk’s Africa Sunshot initiative seeks to significantly scale up the industry’s deployment rate to bridge this energy access gap and accelerate progress towards SDG7.
Husk Power Systems currently operates more than 200 mini-grids in Nigeria and India. Under the Africa Sunshot, Husk has set country-specific targets, including 1,000 mini-grids in Nigeria, doubling its previous target, along with 500 in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 250 each in four yet-to-be-identified countries. To enable this ambitious expansion, Husk has proposed a new public-private partnership (PPP) framework to mobilize financing for mini-grid construction in Africa.
Manoj Sinha, Co-Founder and CEO of Husk emphasized the need for operational excellence, government support, and investor commitment to meet the Africa Sunshot’s targets. He stated, “It will also need the active support of governments to get the right policies in place that integrate mini-grids as a central component of national electrification and energy transition plans.”
Olu Aruike, Husk’s Nigeria Country Director, highlighted the opportunity to drive low-carbon and climate-resilient growth across rural Africa by significantly scaling up the mini grid industry. He noted that Husk is already making strides in Nigeria, the largest off-grid market globally, and aims to replicate this success across the continent.