Republic of Congo signed a solar-hybrid power deal worth $100 million with a consortium led by Gridworks. This power deal aims to provide electricity to the cities Gemena, Bumba and Isiro, which are not currently connected to the national grid. This power is expected to reach more than half a million people. The company providing electricity will be called Moyi Power.

Solar-hybrid systems combine solar power with another electricity generating energy source. In this case, the back up power source will be diesel. There will also be a 22-year concession period. The consortium is in discussions with the African Development Bank and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund about raising debt to part finance the project. Gridworks is owned and financed by the British development finance institution CDC Group, French utility company Eranove, and Spanish power developer AEE Power.

According to Mwenze Mukaleng, minister of hydraulic resources and electricity “Renewable energy is a priority sector for the Government of Democratic Republic of Congo for growth, revenue generation and employment.”

Congo has a population of nearly 90 million people, less than 10 per cent of which has reliable access to electricity. According to the World Bank, Congo has the third largest area of tropical rainforest in Africa, and 80 per cent of it is unprotected. Recently, Congo signed an agreement with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, with the latter committing $41.8 million to reduce carbon emissions and preserve forests in the country.