100% solar mini-grids in 1,000 villages in Senegal

Solar electrification in a rural village. Photo: Shutterstock

Solar electrification in a rural village. Photo: Shutterstock

In many areas of Senegal, local communities still live without access to electricity. The few solutions often rely on unsustainable energy sources. The Senegalese Rural Electrification Agency (ASER) program aims to deploy 100 per cent solar mini-grids in 1,000 isolated villages in Senegal. This initiative will provide access to sustainable power for the most vulnerable people in the most challenging locations through private rural electrification concessionaires.

The Climate Finance Innovators (CFI) consortium, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI), is also pleased to announce that the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board has approved funding for the ASER program. This boosts the ambition of Senegal’s nationally determined contributions (NDC) and its national ambition of universal access to electricity from renewable sources. Securing the GCF’s approval is also a vital achievement for the CFI project, which provided technical support throughout all stages of the proposal, from concept note to the full funding.

Sustaining electricity for communities and businesses in rural areas

Through the funding, ASER will be able to contribute significantly to achieving the universal access to electricity goal set by the Government in Senegal by 2025, focusing on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people in rural areas. Benefitting 38,917 newly electrified rural households within five years (32 MW solar PV mini-grid generation capacity), this intervention will result in an estimated 45,098 tCO2 annual emission reductions impact and more than 1.1 MtCO2 to be avoided over the project’s lifetime.

The West African Development Bank (BOAD), which serves as Accredited Entity towards the GCF will manage the funds. By channeling concessional funding, connecting beneficiaries to reliable electricity supply, and facilitating access to social and productive users of this new power source, the project accelerates and sustains the electrification of communities and businesses that remain outside the boundary of the Rural Electrification Priority Plan and Senelec (National Electricity Company of Senegal).

Thanks to state-of-the-art Measurement, Reporting and Verification protocols based on a UNFCCC-approved Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) baseline and monitoring methodology, the ASER Senegal activities will show case how mitigation activities can support NDC targets as well as strengthen readiness preparations for the next generation of carbon markets under Article 6 of Paris Agreement.

The Climate Finance Innovators Project

This project aims to develop replicable climate financing models in Ethiopia, Senegal and Uganda that are based on the CDM elements and activities. The project thereby establishes innovative linkages between UNFCCC market mechanisms and international climate financing institutions such as the GCF.

CFI is a collaboration between Perspectives Climate Group, Climate Focus, AERA Group, Carbon Africa Limited, Afrique Energie Environnement (AEE) and South South North. The project is supported by IKI of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conversation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.