Equator Energy, the largest owner and operator of B2B solar power plants in East Africa, reports a successful first quarter of solar power generation in Puntland, Somalia, delivering cleaner, cheaper electricity to domestic and industrial consumers.
In March 2020, Equator commissioned two solar power plants totalling 1.6 MW of installed solar capacity. These run in parallel to diesel generators and are located in two major cities in Puntland. Both systems are fully financed and owned by Equator, operating under power purchase agreements with Puntland’s largest privately-owned independent power producer (IPP), Ente Nazionale Energia Electrica (ENEE).
Each plant replaces 25 % of the cities’ power requirement with cheaper, cleaner solar energy. Together, the systems save 7,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the per capita annual emissions of ca. 27,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa. With the cost of diesel-generated electricity in Puntland currently between 0.40 – 0.80 USD per kWh, cheaper solar power also allows ENEE to reduce tariffs. Further savings also allow for investment in upgrading and expansion of the grid network, fuelling regional economic growth.
“Thanks to Equator’s investment-free service, we have been able to benefit from solar savings without having to divert capital away from developing our grid infrastructure,” says ENEE CFO Bashir Muse. “We are now less reliant on diesel and are pleased to see that our generators are requiring less maintenance. Equator has also enabled our technical team to gain much needed experience in solar technology, as well as providing continuous remote support to our staff. We hope that cleaner and cheaper solar energy will help us expand our customer base and enable our local economy to continue growing.” The plants are designed, financed, constructed, operated and maintained by Equator, who have a diversified portfolio of grid-tied, diesel-hybrid and off-grid solar power plants across Africa. Equator’s fully-financed business model means clients avoid the significant up-front costs of solar, while still benefitting from cheaper, cleaner solar energy in the long-term. This project is Equator’s first operation in Puntland, a state in the north-east of Somalia with a population of 3.5m people. The region has one of the highest daily averages of solar radiation in the world yet relies almost entirely on diesel-powered electricity generation; the Puntland government estimates that over 100,000 litres of imported diesel fuel are burned every day. The cost of fuel makes up c60% of power providers’ revenues, making reinvestment into more efficient, sustainable systems very difficult.
In addition to the environmental cost, many IPPs operate inefficient systems, with poor- quality infrastructure. Along with a lack of scaled, interconnected grids, this leads to substantial distribution losses of up to 40% – nearly four times higher than the average rate of loss across African countries.
“This project was our first in the region and we are delighted with how smoothly it has progressed,“ says, Sebastian Noethlichs, CEO Equator. “Once our equipment was on site, the two modular installations took our team just under three weeks to complete. Puntland is an extremely exciting market for Equator Energy. With such compelling solar yield and widespread use of expensive diesel generated power, solar can deliver exceptional financial and environmental savings to companies like ENEE. We are excited about expanding our footprint with ENEE as they continue to grow in the years to come.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS Equator is a privately owned, fully integrated developer, investor and operator of solar power plants, specialising in emerging and frontier markets. Based in Nairobi, Equator operates and develops grid-, diesel- and battery-tied solar power plants throughout Africa. It currently owns and operates over 10 MW of solar projects across more than 25 projects in four countries. Equator is a joint venture between two companies: Maris and Nvision Energy. Maris is an investment holding company with more than 100m USD under management, focused on sub-Saharan Africa. Nvision.Energy is a solar developer and EPC, with more than a decade of experience delivering solar projects across Europe and Africa. More information can be found at: www.equatorenergy.net
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