Winch Energy, an off-grid energy developer and technology integrator, has adopted a dedicated mechanism for financing its mini green grid projects in Africa. Through this platform, $16 million has already been mobilised towards setting up 49 mini-grids in Uganda and Sierra Leone. The mini grids will be built with Winch Energy’s own proprietary technology, the Remote Power Unit, and will be operational within the next 12 months.
The mini-grids will be located in the Lamwo district of Uganda and in Tonkolili, Koinadugu and Bombali districts of Sierra Leone. The projects are expected to supply clean energy to over 60,000 people for the first time. Through the project, 6,000 portable batteries will also be provided to people who lie outside of the mini grid catchment area. Winch Energy already operates 13 sites in northern Sierra Leone, which were completed as part of an earlier phase of this project. In Uganda, the company also has a project under development to supply electricity to 20,000 people living on Bunjako Island in Lake Victoria. The project is expected to be completed by the end of March 2021. Winch’s portfolio also extends to Benin, Mauritania and Angola.
The new created platform for future investments and financing is called Winch Energy IPP Holdings (WIPP). This has been set up by Winch Energy in partnership with NEoT Off-grid Africa, a platform set up by Electricité de France (EDF), Mitsubishi and Meridiam. According to Winch Energy, subsidies are provided by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID) for the projects in Sierra Leone and by the German Development Ministry (BMZ) and European Union in support of the Ugandan projects. The project development is also supported by GIZ in Uganda and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Sierra Leone.
Having already invested more than €30 million in the electrification of 25,000 homes and businesses in Ivory Coast and Nigeria, NEoT Offgrid Africa has been helping in Africa’s energy transition. Further, according to Winch Energy, the solar energy investment fund manager SunFunder will also inject 2 million dollars into WIPP to finance mini-grid projects. The Winch IPP Holdings Limited plans to expand operations into more countries with an aim to reach about $100 million through operating projects in the next 24 months.