Phanes Group (www.PhanesGroup.com/incubator), an international end-to-end solar provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, has announced the 2nd edition of its Solar Incubator program, aimed at identifying PV projects of potential in sub-Saharan Africa by providing support to funding, and commercial and technical knowledge.
The initiative held under the theme, “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future”, will be held in collaboration with Hogan Lovells, responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding, RINA and Solarplaza, and invites PV developers to submit proposals for projects based in sub-Saharan Africa that have a clear Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) component.
Candidates are asked to submit their proposals by September 27th (11.59 p.m. CET) via the process established on Phanes Group’s website. Those who are shortlisted will be invited to present their projects to an expert panel comprised of the Solar Incubator partners at the “Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa 2018” conference in Kigali, Rwanda, from November 7th to 8th, where the industry’s key players will hold extensive discussions on solutions for Africa’s solar energy requirements and bridging the bankability gap.
It comes as part of Phanes Group's core strategy to collaborate with Africa-focused counterparties, such as local project owners, governments, and developers on projects that seek to create a sustainable future for urban and rural communities across the sub-Saharan African region.
“The majority of our business focus lies in electrifying new markets in sub-Saharan Africa. With CSR at the heart of our business model, we launched this initiative with the goal of bringing bankability to projects that stand to provide clean energy to economies that need it most. The Phanes Group Solar Incubator is an example of this,” said Martin Haupts, CEO, Phanes Group.
“Entering the Phanes Group Solar Incubator means creating the opportunity to not only win, but the possibility to gain further exposure to key industry players through the evaluation panel. We have already seen great success from last year’s projects, and we are confident that as this initiative continues to grow, more and more businesses across the continent will be able to effectively address local needs for clean and affordable energy.”
Christopher Cross, Partner of law firm Hogan Lovells, who will be part of the evaluation panel at the event, said, “We are delighted to be invited again this year to take part in such an exciting and on-the-ground initiative such as this. I had a great experience last year and very much look forward to seeing what is in store for us in Rwanda. As stated previously, the Solar Incubator seeks to foster both local innovation and investment to bring potential opportunities to fruition for the social and economic benefit of the region and its people.”
With almost 700 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living without electricity, the Phanes Group Solar Incubator aims to enable solutions by supporting developers not only during the funding phase, but throughout the project development and delivery. Phanes Group, along with its partners, will provide PV developers with access to the expertise that will support them in reaching bankability. During the initial phase, extensive mentorship and access to the right network will enable this year’s winner(s) to roll out a sustainable energy solution for their community and develop a long-term CSR concept.
“responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding is proud to be participating in the Phanes Group Solar Incubator once again this year,” said Wilfred van den Bos, Head of Investments. “It is important to ensure that energy projects within the solar sector start and remain financially viable, and we hope that our continued partnership will foster successful entrepreneurship that will benefit communities across sub-Saharan Africa.”
Lee Smith, Sector Manager from RINA also commented, “RINA is proud to partner with Phanes Group again for the 2018 edition of the Solar Incubator, which produced some interesting projects in 2017. It was encouraging to see the emergence of strong CSR propositions in line with the vision of the initiative. We look forward to this year’s proposals and helping to shape the winner’s future.”
"We are very much looking forward to host the latest edition of the incubator during Unlocking Solar Capital Africa. All participants will have the opportunity to take their project from concept stage into development with the expert advice from the incubator evaluation panel and the support of Phanes Group" Lydia van Os, Project Manager Unlocking Solar Capital Africa added.
Similar to last year, the developer(s) of the winning project(s) will be invited to join Phanes Group for an intensive workshop at its headquarters in Dubai, UAE. This will help lay the foundations for delivering a bankable and sustainable project.
More about Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator
Phanes Group’s 2nd annual Solar Incubator, held under the theme of “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future”, will be supported by Hogan Lovells, responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding, RINA and Solarplaza.
The initiative aims to select and develop PV project opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa that haven’t been able to gain access to funding and necessary know-how. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of this initiative; along with the project details a solid CSR concept that benefits the local community must be submitted and will be further developed during the incubator phase and implemented in parallel with execution of the PV project.
The candidates of the winning project(s) will have the opportunity to enter a partnership with Phanes Group and be able to hold a long-term stake in the project, collaboratively aiming to bring it to financial close. With the incubator, Phanes Group and its partners will provide the winner(s) with extensive mentorship and knowledge transfer throughout the project.
The Solar Incubator phase will kick off with an intensive face-to-face workshop for the winning candidate(s) in Dubai, UAE, working with Phanes Group’s team and its partners, setting the foundations to deliver bankable projects. During that phase the winner(s) will gain access to commercial and technical know-how covered by experts from project finance, project development and execution, legal and CSR, followed by further remote mentoring sessions for additional months.
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With the financial support from the European Union and other partners, JUMEME, a rural electricity supplier, will electrify 10 islands in Lake Victoria, with a population of more than 80.000 people, through off-grid solutions.
As far back as 1890, Nigerians got exports of stock fish from Norway. This expanded to other sectors including shipping, ship building, oil and gas, renewable energy, making Nigeria Norway’s most important economic partner in Africa. The Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud, in this interview, outlines potentials for further cooperation between the two friendly countries.
Daily Trust: How would you assess relations between Nigeria and Norway?
Ambassador Jens-Petter Kjemprud: I would describe it as very good. We opened an embassy in Nigeria at independence, but already had long trade relations dating back to the 1890s predominantly through stock fish exports. Trade, shipping, ship building, oil and gas, renewable energy are the main economic sectors, making Nigeria Norway’s most important economic partner in Africa with potentials for further growth. Political relations have become much closer in the past years with frequent meetings at political level and political visits both ways. The annual Nordic African foreign ministers meeting held once in Oslo and once in Abuja within the past three years is a good arena to discuss issues of common concern and the annual Nordic African Business Summit held every November in Oslo is an arena to develop further economic cooperation. We are also in the process of developing a bilateral political consultation mechanism and for two years now have had a very proactive Nigerian-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce based in Lagos.
DT: Norway hosted the humanitarian conference on Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. How would you assess the outcome?
Amb. Kjemprud: We are quite happy with the outcome. The two main ambitions of the conference which we hosted with the UN, Germany and the Nigerian government was to broaden international attention on the humanitarian needs in the Lake Chad region and secure solid funding to respond to the needs. Both ambitions were achieved. We are now in the process of planning for “Oslo 2” conference in cooperation with the UN and Germany, to be held in Berlin. We follow closely the government’s efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis which affects up to seven million people and urge the Nigerian government to cooperate fully in preparation for the new conference. Such a conference should go beyond the humanitarian funding to bridge the gap towards development, peace and stability and supplement necessary peace initiatives for the Northeast. There is no military or humanitarian solution alone.
DT: Have other projects been initiated since then?
Amb. Kjemprud: The government, UN, national and international NGOs have all responded to the humanitarian crisis, specifically the Northeast of Nigeria and Borno State in particular, as this is the epicenter of the conflict and the humanitarian crisis. The UN in particular has strengthened its presence but the pledges and commitments to the humanitarian response plan for 2018 is relatively weak, hence the need for “Oslo 2”. Norway upgraded its response through the UN, national and international NGOs in 2017 to approximately $35m. The Norwegian Refugee Council has also established a solid presence to support refugees and internally displaced persons.
DT: Having been in Nigeria for some time, how will you describe your stay?
Amb. Kjemprud: I am enjoying my stay, coming to two years, very much. Nigeria has a deep reservoir of brilliant, well educated, innovative and bright people, many of whom I have had the privilege to meet. But also, as I had the opportunity to discuss when I visited the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, there is a gap between all those brilliant people and the way the country is organized. That continues to puzzle me and should pose a challenge to the politicians of this great country.
DT: How is the bilateral trade tie between Nigeria and Norway?
Amb. Kjemprud: As I said, the trade volume is good, with the bulk concentrated in shipping, ship building and oil and gas sectors. I still feel there is much untapped potential and we try to promote further trade including through special efforts to remove wrong perceptions of the Nigerian market. There is still an inclination among many business people not to engage in the Nigerian market because of the bad reputation. We thus support the Buhari government’s fight against corruption and we cooperate to urge our companies to avoid corruption. We are pleased with the improvement in Nigeria’s ranking on the ease of doing business, but still see the energy sector as an important impediment to foreign investment in Nigeria. The manufacturing sector cannot be competitive without safe, cheap and stable power supply. If Nigeria succeeds in improving the fight against corruption, the ease of doing business and puts it energy sector in order, you will see a new, more prosperous Nigeria which could also respond better to the needs of the fast growing population, thereby reducing conflicts caused by competition for scarce resources. These are the issues politicians should be judged by.
DT: The Nigerian government has called on Norway to invest in the seafood sub-sector in Nigeria, do you see this working?
Amb. Kjemprud: Trade between the two countries is imbalanced in our favour indeed, mostly due to the fact that we are both oil producing countries. We do however think that this might change. Today, the surplus in trade is mostly due to Norwegian technology inputs into the Nigerian oil sector. As the Nigerian local content policy develops, we can envisage changes in the near future. The Norwegian branch of TechnipFMC recently produced manifolds for the oil sector with 80% local content and a Lagos-based company, Marine Platforms, won a local content award this year for acquiring high technology ships for Nigeria’s subsea offshore industry from Norway. As for the seafood sector we believe and have offered assistance in developing aquaculture in Nigeria. The domestic supply only covers one-third of the demand for fish, so there is an enormous potential to develop the sector on land and at sea. Norway has the expertise as the seafood sector is our third biggest export sector. We would be happy to share our experiences. The Nigerian- Norwegian Chamber of Commerce is focusing on this and we will have a seafood/fisheries week in Lagos this October in cooperation with the Norwegian Seafood Council.
DT: You once expressed Norway’s readiness to collaborate with Nigeria on the film industry. How far has this gone?
Amb. Kjemprud: I visited the Nigerian Film Institute in Jos only last week to take this initiative further. The Nigerian film industry is a big success employing some say, over a million people directly or indirectly. It also has a strong impact on people in Nigeria and across Africa. We have agreed to participate in Nigerian film festivals and arrange a Nigerian film festival in Norway through this cooperation establishing direct contact between the two NFIs - Nigerian Film Institute (NFI) and Norwegian Film Institute (NFI).
DT: What would you want to tell Nigerians about Norway?
Amb. Kjemprud: Maybe two things: First, we have deliberately used only a small part of our oil income to fund running costs and extraordinary investments, and as a result, now have the biggest sovereign wealth fund in the world, which is established to secure the welfare of future Norwegian generations. It’s all based on the principle of saving on good days for bad days. Secondly, women’s rights and equal access to work is probably the biggest contributor to the wealth of the nation, and happiness of all people in Norway (if happiness can be measured).
- The scalable micro grid system powered by a Hybrid Distributed Power unit will provide reliable, sustainable power to 1,500 inhabitants of Digo Village.
- GE’s Hybrid Distributed Power combines PV solar panels, batteries, and a diesel generator to provide reliable, cost effective power to off the grid communities.
- The unit uses GE’s Predix platform, designed for digital Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), to maximize the use of clean solar power and batteries.
General Electric (GE) (www.GE.com), the world’s premier Digital Industrial Company, has commissioned a scalable micro grid system powered by a Hybrid Distributed Power unit for Digo Village in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. The system which was implemented in partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the Oromia Region Energy bureau as well as Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) will provide reliable, cost effective power to 1,500 inhabitants of Digo providing critical power to a health clinic, school, administrative offices and homes.
The commissioning is consistent with Ethiopia’s National Electrification Program – Implementation Road Map (NEP-IRM) which seeks for a coordinated off-grid implementation program plan, designed for accelerated scale-up of mini grid solutions in rural and deep rural areas. According to Dr. Eng. Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, “Electricity access is an essential pillar of economic and social development. Localized solutions such as the Hybrid Distributed Power unit provided by GE will be part of the solution to electrify Ethiopia going forward”.
GE’s Hybrid Distributed Power combines PV solar panels, batteries, and a diesel generator to provide reliable, cost effective power to a mini-grid system. GE’s Predix platform, designed for digital Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), maximizes the use of clean solar power and batteries for the unit while a variable speed diesel generator provides essential backup when battery power is insufficient. The entire system is containerized inside a standard shipping container that can be efficiently and speedily installed. GE partnered with a local entity, http://SolarTechPlc.com, in the installation and commissioning of the system.
The Digo village Hybrid power system is GEs third installation in Ethiopia. In 2017, GE funded two similar units at Health Centers in Guba and Ashoka in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) region. “Electrification of Digo is a continuation of the impactful contribution that GE Is making in Ethiopia, while playing a central role in the implementation of Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) priority projects,” said Daniel Hailu, Chief Executive Officer of GE in Ethiopia.
The Hybrid Distributed Power unit was funded by GE Renewable Energy’s “We Share the Power” program which brings power to remote, off grid areas of the world through efficiency savings at GE Renewable Energy’s manufacturing sites around the world. The project was also supported by GE Licensing, which works with partners around the world to bring GE’s containerized hybrid power island to remote areas of the world requiring off-grid distributed power solutions to meet their energy needs.
GE businesses have been active in the Ethiopia market for over 20 years. The project execution in Ethiopia was led by the GE Hydro team in charge of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project, where GE supplies 5 units of 400MW. An integrated GE Ethiopia office was inaugurated in 2017 as a commitment towards long-term partnership in Ethiopia. The company continues to be a key partner for Africa with over 2600 employees in 33 countries. GE recently achieved its 100th power plant (https://goo.gl/HjYE34) milestone in Sub-Saharan Africa across renewables, gas and steam plants generating over 46GW of power.
The 20th Africa Energy Forum concludes today in Mauritius after four days of panel discussions and networking functions focused on Africa’s Energy Sector. Over 1500 delegates attended the 20th anniversary event which took place in 26 purpose-built structures erected between the Paradis and Dinarobin Beachcomber hotels in Le Morne.
Mauritius was chosen as a location for the conference this year due to its reputation as a stable, reliable & competitive investment hub as well as for its strategic location in the Indian Ocean and impressive energy access rates.
“We really wanted to do something special this year to celebrate the Forum’s anniversary,” commented EnergyNet’s Head of Marketing, Amy Offord. “The theme for 2018 is reflecting on the achievements within the industry over the last 20 years, putting the energy community into the spotlight and acknowledging their on-going determination to drive the sector forward.”
Several announcements from the sector took place at the event. These included the launch of the Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) by the African Development Bank, which measures the level of development of an African country’s electricity regulatory sector. IFC signed a $34 Million Financing Agreement with Enel, IDC and EIB for the construction of 34 MW Ngonye solar plant in Zambia as part of their IFC/World Bank Scaling Solar Initiative. Globeleq signed a joint development agreement with Mozambique’s EDM to progress the 400 MW gas-fired power project located at Temane in Inhambane Province. ENGIE announced plans to continue expanding their solar home system (SHS) and mini-grid activities, and renewable energy producer Alcazar Energy announced the first roll-out of vocational training as part of a community development initiative.
David Bhoyroo is responsible for organising group incentives for the Beachcomber resort and has been the main point of contact for organisers EnergyNet. “It's been exciting - very different to what usually do. We didn’t have a tent like that in Mauritius. When we were approached by EnergyNet we didn’t really know what to expect. This is the biggest event ever hosted here.”
EnergyNet’s Head of Operations Verena Lester says it has been a challenging journey; “The site covers roughly 5,000 square metres and the whole process took just over a year- our first site visit to Mauritius was in April 2017. It’s been an amazing adventure for us – we had so many questions and the Beachcomber had to supply many of the answers. Those answers were never 'no' – they always found solutions. It’s really critical to have partnership like this for such a large project. With the two Beachcomber hotels exclusively reserved for delegates, everyone in the hotel was involved in the event, and that’s exciting.”