Benin is set to install solar systems in 5,000 homes or 25,000 people in rural areas in 5 divisions of the country. Local supplier of solar solutions, African Renewable Energy Systems & Solutions (Aress) concluded a partnership on 5th February 2020 in Cotonou with Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), an American fund aimed at accelerating economic growth in developing countries, to achieve this goal.
The project will be implemented over a two-year period in regions where there is no connection to the electricity grid. The solar home kits to be installed will be assembled locally to reduce the import of finished products and increase the local value chain.
With a total power of 350kW, these installations will meet the basic needs of the populations (lighting, mobile phone recharging, radio, TV), but also for productive uses (cold and refrigeration unit, energy kiosk, service points) allowing entrepreneurs to generate additional income for their households. The populations will pay for the acquisition costs of their equipment over a period of 12 to 36 months using mobile banking technologies.
The project between Aress and the MCA is part of the EurekaA-1 project, which aims to bring electricity to the most disadvantaged populations. It is based on the same types of facilities and financial mechanisms as the “Light for All” programme, launched in 2016 by the Beninese government.
The “Light for All” programme aims to partially offset an estimated 200MW of energy deficit in Benin, through a bold goal of distributing 4 million solar kits in six months. In Benin, 75% of households live in areas without access to electricity. To fill this gap, the West African country has adopted a new electricity code. The code, provides for the opening of the electricity market to private investors, who can now produce, transport, distribute and market electrical energy in the Republic of Benin in the same way as the Benin Electricity Company (Sbee).