Power Africa Awards $1.2 Million in Grants for the Development of Mini-Grids in Madagascar

On November 23, 2020, Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded grants totaling $1.2 million to mini-grid developers lighting up more than 5,200 households and businesses in rural Madagascar.

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Off-grid Electricity Vital to Electrify Madagascar

Although rich with renewable energy resources like solar and wind, only 5 percent of rural Madagascar has access to electricity, resulting in dependency on candles, batteries, and firewood to meet daily energy needs.

A mini-grid is an off-grid electricity distribution network involving small-scale electricity generation.
A mini-grid is an off-grid electricity distribution network involving small-scale electricity generation. Photo Credit: Henri Fraise Fils & Cie

Helping Developers and Operators Break Into the Off-grid Market

Power Africa launched the “Power Africa Madagascar Mini-Grid Development Grant” to bridge the financing gap and support implementation of new mini-grid projects as well as expansion of existing mini-grids to new customers.

The Challenge

  • Mini-grid developers are experiencing funding shortfalls and struggling to complete and commission mini-grids
  • Existing mini-grid developers are also struggling to raise capital for expansion to connect additional customers

Power Africa support

  • Power Africa awarded $1.2M in grants to developers
  • Funding is for the procurement of specific mini-grid equipment and for community outreach activities and marketing to attract additional customers
  • Power Africa will provide technical assistance to help the grantees to optimize their projects

Anticipated Impact

  • Grants enable the implementation of new mini-grid projects
  • More than 5,200 households and businesses connected to electricity
  • Existing mini-grids can expand to new customers

How the Grantees will Connect More Households to Electricity

Map of Madagascar
Map of Madagascar
Map of Madagascar showing the three regions where the respective mini-grid project sites are located. Source: Google Maps
  • Henri Fraise Fils & Cie will build a new solar mini-grid with battery storage, a backup generator, and a 4-kilometer low-voltage line at Manaratsandry village in Boeny region. “This grant will allow us to not only reduce the initial investment cost but also to drastically reduce the cost of energy for the beneficiary village, Manaratsandry,” explains Charles van der Straeten, Henry Fraise Fils & Cie General Manager.
  • HIER will extend the distribution network of an existing hydro-powered mini-grid in the town of Tsarazaza, which is a part of Amoron’i Mania region. “This grant will allow us to extend the areas served by our existing hydroelectric production plant while allowing, in a short time, the connection of more than 1,500 households,” says H.I.E.R. General Manager, Raolijaona Dieudonné.
The productive use of energy can facilitate income generating activities.
The productive use of energy can facilitate income generating activities.
The productive use of energy can facilitate income generating activities. Photo Credit: Henri Fraise Fils & Cie
Private sector mini-grids have an important role to play in socio-economic development in rural Africa.
Private sector mini-grids have an important role to play in socio-economic development in rural Africa. Photo Credit: Henri Fraise Fils & Cie

A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ