4 Tanzanian firms lined up for US power grant

Four Tanzanian companies are among 11 beneficiaries in Africa of one-million-US-dollar grant from the US President Baraka Obama’s Power Africa initiative to expand their renewable energy solutions to rural communities.
Power Africa said in a statement that the beneficiaries in Tanzania include the Benedictine Sisters of St. Gertrud Convent in the Njombe Region who plan to connect villagers to low-cost, sustainable electricity produced by the sisters’ 317 KW small hydroelectric power plant (SHEPP).

Another beneficiary from Tanzania is Maasai Pastoralists Development Organization (MPDO), which will install solar PV systems at seven Maasai schools in rural northern Tanzania, providing reliable electricity to students, teachers, and the surrounding community, read the statement.

Others are Sustainable Energy Services Company Limited (SESCOM) which will install a 20 kilowatt micro-grid powered by biomass (primarily maize cobs) in rural Kibindu village in eastern Tanzania and Watumia Umeme Cooperative Society (WUCS) will install a ten kilowatt solar microgrid in Masimbwe village, in southwestern Tanzania with no access to the national grid.

This will provide households with solar power and replace kerosene and firewood as primary fuel sources. The grants, which have been awarded by GE Africa in conjunction with the US African Development Foundation (USADF) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will see each winner receive up to 100,000 US dollars, according to the statement. Other beneficiaries come from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Ethiopia.

The beneficiaries had competed in Obama’s Power Africa initiative, which aims to expand access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 600 million people still lack basic access to electricity.

Power Africa’s Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which is part of the Beyond the Grid Initiative and funded by GE Africa, USADF and USAID, drives alternative solutions to increasing access to reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.

According to Power Africa, the Off-Grid Power Challenge has allocated 5.0 million US dollars for distribution and now in its third year, will extend the 5.0 million US dollar and 50 awards to energy entrepreneurs in nine African countries across the continent.

The Off-Grid Challenge will award grants to African companies, which provide offgrid clean power solutions and drive economic growth.

Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz commented: “We received an overwhelming response to this challenge from African entrepreneurs with creative solutions to Africa’s energy crisis.” “These grants provide these companies with the funding they need to scale their businesses and deliver results for their communities.