Renewvia's Approach to Expanding Access to Electricity Wins a Spot at the 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Summit

June 17, 2019

Two weeks ago, I had the honor of participating in the the ninth Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES), co-hosted by the United States and The Netherlands in The Hague. There were around 2,000 of the world’s most innovative entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers and key stakeholders from more than 120 countries, all of whom were working on solutions to challenges around five key sectors: Energy, Agriculture/Food, Connectivity, Health and Water – and the energy, pun fully intended, was remarkable.

Renewvia was selected by the U.S. Department of State for our work in sub-Saharan Africa, where two out of three people do not have access to electricity. It’s even worse, however, in rural, hard-to-reach communities, which is where Renewvia’s approach to microgrid development provides a real opportunity to drive sustainable impact and generate a market return on investment.

Renewvia's Model for Rural Microgrid Development and Operation

Since 2016, Renewvia has actively pursued a sustainable rural electrification strategy for sub-Saharan Africa that deploys the its Rural Microgrid Development and Operation Model, a blueprint for scaling affordable and reliable power in areas that are unserved by conventional utilities or ineligible for grid extension. This approach to constructing hybrid and standalone solar photovoltaic and battery-powered plants, which are designed to accommodate additional capacity from wind or other sources of electricity, provides a sustainable return on investment at scale by focusing on four core pillars:

Partnering to Enter the Sub-Saharan African Market

INITIAL INVESTMENT: Through Power Africa, the U.S. Government-led partnership to reduce energy poverty, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) partnered with Renewvia on two projects:

(1) Kenya: Develop 8 microgrid plants totaling 1.5 MW of peak installed capacity. Status: The feasibility study is complete, and work is currently underway to construct and then manage all eight microgrid facilities.

Renewvia created the first form of electricity distribution on the island of Ringiti in Lake Victoria, Kenya

(2) Nigeria: Assess 25 new microgrid sites in Nigeria totaling 5 MW of power. Status: The feasibility study is complete.

Chris Ebiwar, Renewvia's Country Manager for Nigeria, leading community outreach in the Niger Delta

IMPACT: Since USTDA’s initial investment, Renewvia has performed technical assessments, community forums and power audits in over 60 communities in Kenya and Nigeria, which has resulted in a pipeline of 36 sites for microgrid projects. Renewvia has also attracted new capital from global energy companies, private sector and impact investors, multilateral institutions and other organizations.

Next Stop: Scaling Up Our Solution

To date, we've procured a mix of grants and contributed its corporate balance sheet to build the microgrids and lay the groundwork for future projects, and Renewvia is currently pursuing a Series A capital raise of $14.7 million to develop 27 new facilities in Kenya and Nigeria.

Join us as we work to bring a reliable and affordable source of power to communities across sub-Saharan Africa, so more women, men and children have the ability to safely keep the lights on at night, pump and purify water, keep food and medicines refrigerated and expand their economic opportunity.