Electricity access solutions provider Engie Energy Access, a subsidiary of French giant Engie, has partnered with Energy Web to launch "DeFi". This is a decentralised financing platform that will facilitate the deployment of solar mini-grids and solar kits in sub-Saharan Africa via electronic money.
How to finance access to electricity in rural areas? This is a major concern for providers of decentralised electricity access solutions. Engie Energy Access is trying to find an answer to this nagging question by setting up the “DeFi” decentralised financing crowdfunding platform. The subsidiary of French energy giant Engie is developing this solution in partnership with Energy Web, a platform that uses blockchain to facilitate access to electricity.
The new platform at the heart of the partnership between the two entities will be developed by Energy Web. Initially, it will involve integrating the technological stack of Energy Web’s software with Engie’s platform. “DeFi” will allow each investor to finance the installation of clean energy systems in households in sub-Saharan Africa. These off-grid systems will be provided by Engie Energy Access through its companies, Fenix International and Engie Mobisol which distribute solar home systems, as well as Engie PowerCorner which installs containerised solar systems in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa.
E-currency based transactions
With the decentralised financing crowdfunding platform “DeFi”, investors will use Energy Web Tokens (EWT), the native token of the Energy Web channel, in exchange for a fixed interest rate. According to Engie Energy Access, this setup will unlock capital from the global cryptocurrency market, bringing a significant new source of capital for clean energy deployment in Africa. “In order to mitigate risk for all parties involved, Energy Web’s community fund will support the first phase of the platform,” says the Gillian-Alexandre Huart-led company.
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In the second phase, Energy Web will work with Engie Energy Access to give a decentralised unique identifier (DID) to each of the rooftop appliances and solar devices deployed by Engie. In this way, credits can be added directly to people’s appliances to support their access to electricity.
This new solution should facilitate the deployment of decentralised clean energy systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and thus accelerate the electrification of rural areas. Currently, 580 million people in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity. Solar home systems and mini-grids are viable alternatives to change the situation in rural areas.
Jean Marie Takouleu