• Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Husk seeks $90m to expand solar mini-grid in Nigeria, others

Why many schools in Nigeria shun solar power

In a bid to expand its operation in Nigeria and new African markets, solar mini-grid provider Husk has announced plans to raise $90 million in debt and equity to finance expansion.

“Indian solar mini-grid provider Husk is seeking to raise up to $90m in debt and equity to finance expansion in Nigeria and new African markets,” the firm’s CEO, Manoj Sinha tells The Africa Report.

“Husk builds and operates hybrid power plants and distribution networks in India; Nigeria and Tanzania, and has 150 solar mini-grids in operation. The goal is to lift that tenfold to 1,500 over the next four to five years,” Sinha added

Husk Power Systems, which pioneered the first renewable energy mini-grid in India in 2008 and now operates the largest fleet of community mini-grids across Asia and Africa, announced that it achieved profitability on both continents last January.

“When I took over the reins of Husk in 2014, we underestimated the amount of time and effort it would take to discover the right business model, right team and right technology platform to build a commercially viable mini-grid company on two continents,” Sinha said. “It took grit and innovation to arrive here – at a profitable and scalable mini-grid company.”

Read also: Global clean energy investment hits $1trn

In India, Husk has more than 150 mini-grids in operation in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, serving more than 10,000 customers that earlier relied on diesel-powered generators due to unreliable power supplies.

Husk says that its mini-grids have allowed those businesses to switch to solar power, making a significant contribution to India’s energy transition goals and to reducing carbon emissions. The mini-grids also power schools and health clinics, contributing to the broader Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) agenda.

According to projections by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), powering through mini-grids would be the most economical way to provide electricity to nearly 265 million people in 21 countries by 2030.

The United Nations’ lead agency on international development says the new funding of around $65 billion would be required to meet the mini-grid objective in the countries from the private sector.

“This opportunity would include the development of 110,000 mini-grids, powering more than 200,000 education and health centers as well as empowering more than 900,000 livelihoods,” UNDP said in a report.

Also, the International Energy Agency’s Africa Energy Outlook 2022 forecasts the levelized cost of electricity for solar generation to be $0.049 / kWh by 2030, which would be more economical than wind or gas. This includes an incremental installed capacity of 225 MW per year using solar mini-grid from 2021 to 2030.