USTDA Supports Minigrid Solar Power Project in Tanzania

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency  (USTADA) announced yesterday that it has provided a grant to Rex Energy, one of Tanzania’s largest renewable energy solutions providers, for a minigrid project in the Lake Victoria Islands, where only one percent of the population has access to electricity.

The grant supports the development of a full-scale business model and financing plan necessary to implement a hybrid solar photovoltaic (PV) minigrid with a cumulative capacity of 2 megawatts.

USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak, who signed the grant agreement along with Rex Energy Managing Director, Mr. Francis Kibhisa, said:

“In support of the goals of President Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which seeks to increase energy access and promote private sector investment in sub-Saharan Africa, USTDA is pleased to formalize our partnership with Rex Energy. This project is a great example of USTDA’s work to link U.S. industry expertise with the advancement of clean energy in Tanzania.”

Mr. Kibhisa said:

“With this grant and technical support from MRIGlobal, Rex Energy once again assumes the leadership to complement government efforts to transform rural Tanzania through solar powered electrification. The minigrid system is certainly the future of rural electrification in Tanzania, and this grant from USTDA has added the required impetus, at the right time, to achieve that future: the pre-paid solar solution to the marginalized rural majority.”

Rex Energy has selected MRIGlobal (Kansas City, Mo.) to carry out the feasibility study and pilot project. The project will also include participation from additional U.S. companies, including Homer Energy (Boulder, Colo.), Enphase Energy (Petaluma, Calif.) and SunEdison (Belmont, Calif.), a major U.S. solar PV producer and official Power Africa private sector partner. The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will also provide expertise on renewable energy resource assessments, as well as analysis and optimization of the minigrid design.

This effort supports Power Africa by helping to increase access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa. Implementation of the project would help to electrify an estimated 5,900 households and businesses, delivering power to more than 37,000 Tanzanians in the Lake Victoria region.

Source: Press Release by USTDA. Image Credit: Roman Boed via Flickr.