Winch Energy, NEoT Offgrid Africa to Develop Solar Mini Grids in Uganda and Sierra Leone

Image: Offgrid Independence

Winch Energy – a leading off-grid utilities provider – in partnership with NEoT Offgrid Africa, a platform dedicated to financing decentralized energy in Africa, will fund solar mini grid projects in 49 villages across Uganda and Sierra Leone through Winch Energy IPP Holdings Limited.

Located in the Lamwo district of Uganda and in the Tonkolili, Koinadugu and Bombali districts of Sierra Leone, the mini grids, estimated at a cost of $16 million, will supply clean energy to over 60,000 people for the first time. The mini grids will be built utilizing Winch Energy’s own technology – the Remote Power Unit – and are expected to be operational within the next 12 months.

“We are thrilled to have achieved the funding for our projects in Sierra Leone and Uganda through the creation of this new platform, Winch Energy IPP Holdings, with our partners NEoT Africa,” said Nicholas Wrigley, CEO of Winch Energy Limited. “This platform will enable us to rapidly scale up operations in Africa. Not only does this deal pave the future for Winch Energy as a leader in large-scale, off-grid renewables, it also stimulates economic growth and improves education and healthcare provision in remote communities.”

SunFunder, a leading fund manager, is also providing an additional two million-dollar construction loan to the project. Solar projects in Sierra Leone will be supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and United Nations Office for Project Services. The German Development Ministry and European Union, along with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, will provide support for the Ugandan projects.

“NEoT Offgrid Africa is really proud to have set up this first of a kind financing scheme, together with its financial partners and industrial key players as Winch Energy and Sagemcom,” said Frédéric Pfister, Director of NEoT Offgrid Africa. “Financing needs for energy access in Africa are huge, but most of the times very challenging for private investors. This deal will surely position [us] as a key player for financing mini grids and other off grid solutions – such as solar home systems and commercial & industry installations – to provide more energy access for people and industries in Africa.”

Winch Energy is owned by Total Eren, Itochu Corporation, Al Gihaz Holdings and Winch Partners.