The GreenStreet Africa Development Company provides an innovative energy as a service model to allow private ownership, operation and financing for distributed solar generation projects to supply Nigerian public facilities such as schools and hospitals with reliable on site electricity. GreenStreet Africa will increase access to affordable, clean power, thereby reducing reliance on conventional diesel units.
Nigeria’s overall electrification rate is 55%; in rural areas it’s only 39% Public facilities, such as schools, universities and hospitals, if they have electricity at all, receive poor service and often rely on dirty, expensive diesel-powered generators. Nigeria’s central power grid supplies only 3.4-4.5 GW of peak power daily, whereby the actual demand is more than 45 GW. The shortfall is met by 60 million diesel generators.
Existing off-grid solar developers focus mainly on private sector projects. Funding for solar generation at public facilities is therefore largely from grants delivered on a project-by-project basis, which is inefficient and cannot scale to rapidly reach the tens of thousands of public buildings that need reliable, sustainable energy access.
GreenStreet Africa is partnering with the Nigeria Rural Electrification Fund (“REF”) to prepare derisked portfolios of off-grid projects at public facilities, starting with Polytechnic Colleges and Unity Schools and eventually extending to rural primary, secondary schools and heath clinics. Aggregating individual projects into investable portfolios suitable for private implementation, ownership and financing is an innovative way to attract investors who would not otherwise not approach this market segment. Projects will be built, owned and operated by private Independent Power Prodcuers (IPPs) selected via public tender. Financing will be secured by private placement bonds issued in local currency, backed by 3rd party repayment guarantees.
Under the first pilot portfolio, GreenStreet Africa estimates that at least 450,000 students and staff could gain access to clean, reliable electricity, significantly increasing rural Nigeria’s electrification rate. Additionally, public facilities would save up to US $159 million per year through lower capital and operating costs when compared to conventional diesel units currently in use.
While the initial project will focus on Nigeria, this issue is prevalent for public facilities in rural areas throughout developing contries. GreenStreet Africa estimates that over 5-7 years of development activity, US $15 billion in distributed solar facilities could be financed through local capital markets in Nigeria and beyond.
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Clifford J. Aron, GreenMax Capital Advisors