EDF expands off-grid business in Africa

Full article in PV Magazine. 

French power utility, EDF announced it will partner with U.S. startup, Off Grid Electric (OGE) to provide off-grid solar solutions to the African market.

The two companies, which have recently begun a project to provide power to around 10,000 households with no access to electricity on the Ivory Coast, will now start a partnership with Ghana’s CH Group to offer solar kits in Ghana.

Under this new initiative, a newly created joint venture named Zegha will be responsible for installing and operating the solar kits in Ghana’s rural and urban areas with no connection with the power network, over a 5-year period. The monthly cost of the service for every household will range between €20 and €27. Contracts will span from 24 to 30 months. Payment can be made through the use of a mobile phone, and the kits include solar modules along with batteries for storing energy.

“We’re thrilled to partner with EDF, an industry leader whose presence in Africa, combined with its experience, will enable us to grow Off Grid Electric’s footprint across the continent,” said CEO of OGE Bill Lenihan.

In January, OGE secured $7.5 million in debt financing from Developing World Markets (DWM). At the time, the company also announced a partnership with Energy Development Corporation Limited, Rwanda’s national utility company, to provide energy access to rural households across Rwanda, as part of the Government of Rwanda’s Rural Electrification Strategy.

In an exclusive interview with pv magazine at the end of 2016, Off Grid Electric CEO, Xavier Helgesen discussed the company’s goal of bringing solar power systems to three million West Africans, and gave details of the new partnership that the company has signed with EDF for an expansion into the Ivory Coast.