EU Approves $3.4m For Okra Solar To Provide Energy Access In Nigeria
The European Union (EU) has approved a $3.4 million working capital facility under the ElectriFI Country Window for Nigeria for energy access beneficiaries.
The fund is being made available for Okra Solar to use solar mesh grids to target 76,000 energy access beneficiaries by the end of 2025.
A release yesterday said the company has started focusing on the highly strategic Nigerian market and wants to deploy multiple pilot projects to energise more than 30,000 households in-country over the next two to three years.
The co-founder and CEO, Okra Solar, Afnan Hannan said following this new provision, Okra Solar will provide access to electricity through mesh-grid technology to mini-grid developers.
He confirmed that the initiative, which was launched in 2016, Okra Solar developed the mesh-grid technology specifically to electrify underserved or unserved communities.
He explained that their proprietary Okra Pod is a device that enables the solar systems installed at each household to communicate and share power through a low-voltage transmission cable (creating the mesh grid). The pods are sold with PV panels, batteries and inverters.
The company has started focusing on the highly strategic Nigerian market and wants to deploy multiple pilot projects to energise more than 30,000 households in-country over the next two to three years.
The Afnan Hannan said “Even with off-grid solutions like mesh grids being 10 times cheaper than grid extension for hard-to-reach communities, 80 million people continue to live off-grid in Nigeria.
According to him, Okra is incredibly excited to work with EDFI ElectriFI to deploy innovative financial tools that will enable local developers to deploy mesh grids at scale and continue rapidly bringing power to the people”.
EDFI ElectriFI’s investment consists in a revolving working capital facility, designed to bridge the financing gap in the supply chain and help Okra leverage the high demand for their technology, penetrate the Nigerian market further and eventually speed up sustainable electrification.
ElectriFI senior investment officer at EDFI MC, Maud Watelet, called the Okra Solar technology “transformative”. Also, the head of Green and Digital Economy at the Delegation of the European Union to the Federal Republic of Nigeria & ECOWAS, Inga Stefanowicz said “As such, it is at the heart of our partnership with Nigeria, which among others, aims at improving reliable energy access to seize the environmental, social and economic potential of renewable energy”
By Bosco Agba