Solar kits and microfinancing

The objective of the “Micresol” project was to reduce poverty among rural populations in two regions of Burkina Faso through sustainable and affordable access to electricity services. The project consisted of two separate parts: part 1 and part 2.
– Part 1 included the dissemination of 1.000 solar kits – Solar Home Systems – in the Central and Eastern region of Burkina Faso by means of micro-financing;
– Part 2 included the development of a rural electrification strategy for renewable energy in the Northern region of Burkina Faso.

Especially part 1 proved to be successful in promoting renewable energy amongst the rural communities. The populations in rural areas uses a lot of energy, but they rarely have the means to invest in cost- and energy efficient solutions like a good quality solar home system. Many people don’t have much trust in these kinds of products, because they have negative past experiences with poor quality solar kits. However, drawing from the experiences of a previous pilot project, the Micresol project partners found a successful model consisting of:

– good quality subsidized solar kits;
– a flexible and adaptable business model;
– favorable payment terms through a local financing institution;
– free repair and replacement services by a local business in the installment period.

This model was not successful in the beginning of the project implementation period. The local communities had to gradually adjust and gain confidence in the solar kits through word of mouth. But when the first clients were happy, more and more people joined the scheme, and today the demand for, and the interest in, this green and energy efficient solution is fast increasing.

For more information on the Energy Facility projects, please visit the ACP-EU Energy Facility Database.

The success of hydropower

With the aim of addressing economic growth, social improvement and poverty reduction, the Mwenga project “Mwenga 3 MW Hydro Power Plant” was directed at improving the access to sustainable and reliable energy in fourteen villages in the rural areas of Tanzania. Specifically, the project was to build and operate a 4MW hydro-power ‘run of river’ facility, which would provide electricity to the village, the local tea industry and the national grid.

The construction of the hydro power plant and the distribution network were delayed by nearly two years due to much longer approval processing time than anticipated. However, the project implementation continued for parts of the projects which either had obtained approval or where no approvals were needed, for example preparation of access roads and outline of the power lines and stocking building materials. This pro-active measure ensured that the construction was ready to commence as soon as approvals/permits were obtained.

In March 2016, the ACP-EU Energy Facility Monitoring team conducted a site visit to monitor the impact of the project and provide recommendations for future use. The team learned that the Hydro Power Plant had been constructed with a technical design that according to nearly three years of operation is considered to be in line with expectations and calculations. The number of connections started out by being lower than expected, but a steadily increasing number of applications from new customers indicate the popularity and the affordability of connections.

The project has had a special focus on providing all schools with electricity and this apparently helps retain the high qualified and best teachers, and hence it is expected that the educational level and students’ performance over years will improve. The active involvement and participation at the local level through the constitution of village “electricity committees” are likely to have ensured a sense of local ownership to the project. Through these committees the collection of information related to the power line routing and providing information through project awareness dissemination has effectively supported the project management.

The 2nd phase of the project is currently being implemented. The project entitled “Mwenga Hydro Rural Network Extension into the Kihansi Basin” aims to expand the existing Mwenga Rural Network into the neighbouring Kihansi Basin, in order to supply 17 villages with clean renewable energy. By building and operating additional 204 km of new power-lines, it is expected that this extension exercise will result in approximately 3000 + new rural connections within the first 20 months of commercial operation.

The Mwenga actions serve as good demonstration projects for private sector involvement in the energy sector. The Government of Tanzania is promoting further involvement of private investment in this sector and the Mwenga case can serve well in this context.

Let the machines do the work!

An innovative project in Benin to help rural citizens with laborious agricultural tasks was successfully implemented due to an effective way of selecting capable operators as well as the use of locally produced equipment. ”SETUP: Services Energétiques et Techniques à Usage Productif au Bénin” aimed to solve a practical problem. The processing of agricultural products has traditionally been performed with hard physical labor, mostly performed by women. One example is the task of molding corn for daily meals which requires much effort from women in rural areas of Benin. This project installed 26 multifunctional platforms. Each platform consists of a building with a large room where an engine powers agro-processing equipment, such as a corn mill and an oil press. Neighboring farmers can bring their produce, pay a fee for using the machines, and efficiently let the machine do the work previously performed with physical labor. To find the right people to operate the platforms, the project organized a grand competition in cooperation with the local municipalities in order to select the best associations and private entrepreneurs. In addition, much equipment was produced by local artisans. This has made it much easier for local technicians to handle repairs afterwards. Five years after the platforms were installed, most are still in use. The clever setup, with the availability of local technicians to handle repairs and qualified operators, has resulted in a sustainable project where operators have seen new opportunities and expanded their businesses, farmers have gained vital access to expensive machinery, and the burden of some physical labor has been lifted off the shoulders of rural women.

The ACP-EU Energy Facility’s suport to innovation led to greater things


The EU Energy Facility funded project ”Catalysing modern energy service delivery to marginal communities in Southern Africa” started in 2008 with the aim to improve access to modern energy services and renewable technologies in rural areas of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. In Malawi, this was the first step to exploiting the large energy potential that is available from the water sources on Mount Mulanje.

The specific project in Malawi took place in the Mulanje district, an area in the southern part of Malawi known for its fertile soil and beautiful mountains. The topography of Mulanje, highly suitable for hydropower due to its many streams and rivers, inspired Practical Action to develop a model for a community-managed hydropower scheme for the community of Bondo. Based on the pilot phase that was supported by the ACP-EU Energy Facility, Practical Action and the local community of Bondo realized that the sustainability of the scheme was at risk due to the lack of technical and professional capacity in the local community and to the low demand profile of households included in the first phase.

To overcome this, the project was expanded in scope to provide access to more households performing a variety of social and economic activities. Today, the Mulanje Electricity Generation Agency (MEGA) is non-profit social enterprise with the goal of being financially sustainable while offering affordable energy to rural costumers as widely as possible. MEGA sold the first units of electricity in January 2016 and have supported business customers in making use of the electricity and accessing finance. Close coordination between with the purpose-organised Village Electricity Committee and tribal chiefs helps guide and prioritise investments, and promotes a sense of ownership in the community. In its current phase, the project will bring clean, renewable energy to:

  • 1 health centre serving a population of over 22,000 people
  • 4 schools serving at least 1,500 students as well as enabling evening classes for adult learning
  • 3,000 people in 600 households with direct connections to the mini-grids
  • business and private initiatives (currently 32 customers with various income generating activities)

The MEGA that is now in place has been successful due to the lessons learned from the initial innovative phase supported by the ACP-EU Energy Facility. The approach adopted was to bring renewable energy to the local people and to empower through skills development to manage the provision of energy to their communities. MEGA now has the capacity to forecast needs and plan for them, manage the finances of the scheme, oversee operations and maintenance, and monitor consumption.

Thanks to the initial support to this innovative project provided by the ACP-EU Energy Facility and the continued commitment of The Scottish Government, the Global Environment Facility, DfID Practical Action at not least the local communities, approximately 20,000 people are benefiting from access to renewable energy in the Mulanje region.  For more information about MEGA, please visit

Simple measures for improving livelihood


A recently completed EU project in Mozambique focused on improving the access to clean energy in two districts in Mozambique. The project was implemented by ADPP and the objective was to provide solar lanterns to rural households, reaching 18,000 people and thereby facilitate education of children, provide better illumination and a smoke-free indoor environment for women to do household chores.
Project activities included selection of locations for establishment of 40 LaBL (“Lighting a Billion Lives”) stations; installation and running of 40 LaBL stations, formation and strengthening of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and entrepreneurs.
The project has demonstrated how simple PV-systems and a simple business model can create longer term impacts in rural areas without electricity. The product and the business model have been developed in India, and ADPP was the first organisation to introduce the concept in Mozambique. The project was small in terms of budget, because no new buildings were to be constructed. The solar panels are simply placed close to an existing home, which hereby becomes a LaBL station with a local operator in charge of renting out lanterns to local users.
The charging stations have now been operating successfully for approximately three years with a high percentage of lanterns being rented out each day.
The LaBL approach implemented in this project is relevant and provides a good example for other projects in providing access to better sources of light. The project has succeeded in creating a sustained impact based on testimonies from users. The high level of attention given to post-installation follow-up is likely to be one of the main reasons for this success. The lack of a local market for spare parts is one of the main challenges for the technology promoted in this project, as it is in most other EF-funded projects. In this case, however, the technology promoted is so simple that it should be possible to produce these spare parts locally and create the supply to match the demand that is already there.

Implementing body: ADPP (Ajuda de Desenvolvimento de Povo para Povo)

For more information on the Energy Facility projects, please visit the ACP-EU Energy Facility Database.


Interactive map of Energy Facility projects

View map in full-screen

The ACP-EU Energy Facility Monitoring team is pleased to present an interactive map that shows the geographical locations of the projects funded under the ACP-EU Energy Facility. By clicking on a specific location, you will find more detailed information about the project, including the project title, objectives and location. By clicking on the links, you will be redirected to the Energy Facility Project Database, which provides a detailed overview of each project.

The importance of local community involvement

The-importance-of-local-community-involvementThe objective of this recently completed project, FED/2011/231-578 ”Community Based Green Energy Project”, was to increase access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services for 301,996 households, 88 social institutions and 64 rural community groups in rural and peri-urban areas of Kenya. By installing solar PV units and increasing awareness of the importance of energy system management and sustainable environmental protection, local communities not only have the opportunity to generate an income but the accessibility of education, health and other services dependent on energy have improved.

The implementer, the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD), worked in partnership with three local Catholic dioceses and one private technical partner. The involvement of local implementing partners ensures project sustainability through their local knowledge. The project is owned by local communities including school and health committee members. This means that students, staff and local communities are responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the systems. Most management committees have raised funds from their own communities to cover repairs as they arise.

The ”Community Based Green Energy Project” has proven the importance of collaborating with well-established and recognised local implementing partners. In this case, the dioceses of Kitui and Isiolo have more than a decade of experience of supporting rural community development initiatives in their districts. Through their work, they have established strong relationships with the rural and peri-urban communities and local authorities. The private local partner, Solar Works East Africa Ltd, is one of the leading solar companies in Africa, and has been directly engaged in the design and installation of renewable energy systems in rural areas for individuals and institutions, including schools, health centres and churches.

Throughout the project implementation, CAFOD staff has provided regular technical support to partners through site visits, as well as online support. The local County Government provides first-line support or, in the case that the problem cannot be resolved locally, they contact Solar Works East Africa for further technical assistance.

The partners are continuing to provide support to the target communities long after project completion due to their presence in the region. There was a total of 386,520 beneficiaries of the project as of the 1st of May 2015, exceeding the original target.

Solar power to the remote areas of Mauritania


The IPES RURAL project ended on 30th September 2015. Its main objective was to improve access to energy in remote areas of Mauritania. The project has enabled access to electricity through power plants connected to a mini-grid or stand-alone solar home systems, where each house has its own small solar energy installation. As a result, 56,000 people now benefit from improved access to electricity from solar PV. Most have gained access through the systems installed in schools, providing electricity for lighting, or because their shops now have electricity for fridges and other appliances. But there are also many direct beneficiaries, since 3,800 homes now have access to electricity that is mainly used for lighting, charging mobile phones and other small appliances.

Implementing body: ADER (Agence de Développement d’électrification Rurale) and IED – Innovation Energie Développement

Donor: EU and the Government of Mauritania

For more information on the Energy Facility projects, please visit the ACP-EU Energy Facility Database.

Eco Makala Allows for Reforestation in Congo


The project « Eco Makala: viabilisation durable de l’approvisionnement en bois-énergie des populations ruralesriveraines de la ville de Goma » took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The World Wide Fund for Nature carried out this project, which aimed at reducing the poverty and increasing the sustainable development of the North Kivu province in Congo. The “makala”, charcoal and firewood, constitute 97% of energy consumption in the province of North Kivu, and are the main fuels of urban households.

The project is directed at small land holders, field workers and the local population. Specifically, the project seeks to contribute to the sustainable provision of energy wood to the rural populations in the surroundings of Goma.

By the end of the project, the following results had been achieved: Forestry techniques were disseminated and the project has enabled the planting of 3,387 ha, (substantially more than originally intended); 49 different non-profit organisations were involved and 2,992 farmers in total; 39 local associations have set up nurseries and plantations; 419 participants were trained in optimised coal making techniques; local employment was created for 3,000 people; and new or additional sources of income have increased the purchasing power of locals.

Watch two videos from the project here (5 minutes) and here (25 minutes).

For more information on the project, please visit the ACP-EU Energy Facility Database.

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195-980 Congo nursery

195-980 Goma Beni June 2010

195-980 Reforestation

Energy for Life and Development in Haiti

“ProgettoMondo Mlal : – Déployer de nouvelles opportunités de développement socio-économique par l’accès aux énergies durables dans le Plateau Central » takes place in the town of Hinche, in Haiti. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere with more than 80 % of Haitians living in extreme poverty in rural areas. Haiti’s energy structure is problematic due to forest destruction and environmental degradation, limiting the population’s access to affordable modern energy sources.

The project aims to increase access to energy through satisfying basic human needs of the poorest population (Energy for Life), and by launching the economic development process from activities related to agriculture (Energy for Development).  The entire population of Hinche (75,000 people) will benefit from the dissemination of technical solutions and services developed by the project.

The project has established 3 nurseries with production of seedlings. 9942 trees were planted and 24,036 seedlings have been distributed to 1,054 beneficiaries. The construction of a modular wood stove prototype has begun to suit the needs of beneficiaries. 10 community centers have been built and electrified, 2 health centers/clinics are now electrified and equipped with refrigerators, 5 schools have been identified for their electrification, 3 kiosks were completed for water purification, a farmer training center has been electrified with 40 solar panels, and technical and administrative training sessions have been carried out.

Watch the video from the project here.

For more information on the project, please visit the ACP-EU Energy Facility Database.

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270-635 NE Haiti 20

270-635 NE Haiti 7

270-635 NE Haiti 9