Crowdfunding off-grid clean energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa

Off-grid renewable energy provider Winch Energy has opened a crowdfunding campaign to fund solar off-grid development to connect people in Sierra Leone and Uganda to clean power.

This particular campaign allows individuals to invest in Africa’s growing clean energy market via Crowdcube starting at £10 ($13.21).

The London-based company has already received an investment from shareholder Total Eren. The IPP pledged £375,000 ($496,554) to the new Crowdcube campaign. To date, the off-grid utility provider has raised $18m through equity and loans. This helped it establish a pipeline of projects that should benefit more than 4.2 million people in off-grid communities.

Nicholas Wrigley, Winch Energy CEO/founder, said a key takeaway from COP26 is the need to scale up clean energy production in developing nations. “Access to reliable energy is fundamental for stimulating economies, improving standards of living and reducing migration and overcrowding in cities.

“We have witnessed first-hand the impact access to clean, affordable energy has. These countries require a combination of energy solutions to meet development objectives. They have remote communities and are presented with geographical and infrastructure challenges yet are blessed with plentiful sunshine. So, solar is an obvious part of the mix,” explained Wrigley.

The commercial viability of clean energy projects

The organisation has installed pilots in Mauritania and Benin; developed a project to power community healthcare centres in Sierra Leone; given energy access to 20,000 people on Lake Victoria; and, recently began constructing 25 minigrids in Uganda’s northern Lamwo district. Once it goes live, that development will also provide street lighting and improve water services in 25 villages.

As more developments demonstrate the success of off-grid market investments, it becomes easier for developers to finance further projects. This leads to better pricing and higher quality products for energy consumers.

“We have already seen great growth in Africa’s clean energy market and the current spotlight on levelling up while managing climate change will push for further progress. This crowdfunding campaign gives individuals the opportunity to participate in the development of the Company and invest in change,” said Wrigley.

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