In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nuru Sasu, a Goma-based electricity access provider, has been awarded $1.5 million to expand its operations. The company develops, finances and builds solar photovoltaic mini grids.
The $1.5 million investment is provided in equal parts by E3 Capital (formerly Energy Access Ventures), Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) and Proparco, the private sector financing arm of the French Development Agency (AFD). This investment is part of a series B fundraising launched by Nuru to support the development of its activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In this central African country, Nuru has installed the first ever urban solar mini-grid in Goma, a city located in the North Kivu province. By opening its capital to a consortium of international investors, the company aims to develop an installed capacity of 13.7 MWp in the cities of Goma, Kindu in the province of Maniema and Bunia in the province of Ituri.
Developing a 35 MWp portfolio
“Nuru is delighted to have partners like REPP, Proparco and E3 Capital giving us the means to provide life-changing energy access in an extremely challenging environment,” says Jonathan Shaw, Nuru’s co-founder and CEO. The Goma-based company already has an installed capacity of 1.7 MWp supplying people, industries and businesses.
In addition to electrifying the cities of Goma, Kindu and Bunia, Nuru is developing a larger project with a capacity of 35 MWp. According to Proparco, once connected over the next three years, these solar mini-grids will provide access to electricity for the first time to 230,000 people as well as around 5,300 businesses and social and public institutions, most of which currently rely on diesel-powered generators for their electricity supply.
Beyond electrification, diversifying the DRC’s electricity mix
Nuru démontre ainsi l’efficacité des mini-réseaux solaires en matière d’électrification en RDC. According to the World Bank’s 2020 report, more than 80% of the population of this Central African country still has no access to electricity. This solution also contributes to the diversification of the DRC’s electricity mix, which depends on dams for over 98% of its electricity production, according to Power Africa.
These often dilapidated hydroelectric facilities are also subject to drought, which causes the beginning of the watercourses to fall, causing a drop in the production of hydroelectric power stations. It is for these and other reasons that the DR Congolese government is increasingly supporting initiatives aimed at electrification via solar mini-grids. Kinshasa has also given its approval to the Eranove group, AEE Power and Gridworks for the electrification of the towns of Bumba, Isiro and Gemena via solar mini-grids.
Jean Marie Takouleu