The U.S. African Development Foundation, USADF, and All On announced that 13 wholly Nigerian-owned enterprises have emerged as winners of the 2021 Nigeria Off-Grid Energy Challenge. The annual Challenge is a multi-year partnership between USADF and All On to identify and scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria.
The winners of the fourth edition of the Challenge are A1 Power Technologies, Alabaster Agro-Allied Industries, Bols N Sels Technologies, CeeSolar Energy, Elvees Engineering, Enercity Smart Grid, First Electric, GreenPower Overseas, Manamuz Electric, Novel Integrated Services, PowerStove Off-Grid Electricity, Sendavis Nigeria Limited, and Uwana Energy.
All 13 enterprises will be awarded $50,000 in convertible debt from All On, $25,000 in grant capital from USADF, and $25,000 in grant capital from All On via its support from the Rockefeller Foundation through the All On Hub. Additionally, the winners will receive technical assistance from USADF and the All On Hub and governance support from All On.
“Congratulations to all the winners who have entered a unique club of innovative Nigerian enterprises that have come through this Challenge to make impactful contributions in the Nigerian renewable energy sector and Nigerian communities,” said Travis Adkins, President and CEO, USADF. “We extended the Off-Grid Energy Challenge partnership till December 2022 and are happy to see that this cohort has the largest number of winners since the program was initiated and a tremendous opportunity to benefit an estimated 16,000 people, including 4,000 smallholder farmers, through clean energy.”
The annual Challenge is a multi-year partnership that identifies and helps scale innovative off-grid solutions to “power up” unserved and underserved areas in Nigeria. The Challenge is delivered through a five-year partnership between USADF, a founding member of the U.S.-led Power Africa Initiative and an independent U.S. Government agency established by Congress to support and invest in African-owned and led enterprises, and All On, a Nigerian impact investing company seeded by Shell that invests in off-grid energy solution providers in Nigeria.
“We remain extremely encouraged that the Challenge is still able to fund another cohort of strong winners in spite of a continued challenging Covid environment,” said Wiebe Boer, CEO, All On. “These emerging indigenous companies have proven that they have what it takes to succeed, and we are confident that their innovations will contribute to solutions that will ultimately improve livelihoods and local economies in Nigeria.”
Eight of the 13 winning enterprises include women in leadership roles. Another key feature of the 2021 edition of the Challenge is a focus on integrating productive-use elements with cleaner energy access technologies to improve the quality of the lives and businesses in the selected communities the projects will serve.
“First electric is pleased to have successfully secured funding to rollout an energy access project designed to ensure that underserved communities can enjoy sustainable and affordable power supply,” said Bankole Komolafe, Chairman of awardee First Electric.
“The funds will be used for procurement, supply, and installation of interconnected Okra Pods, standalone solar home systems, and multipurpose solar lanterns to cover households in Ondo State, which historically have not had access to power from the grid, he said.
The 2021 Challenge has served to pivot many projects towards directly solving pain points and challenges rather than just providing energy. The clean energy projects to be financed from the Challenge include solar-powered mini-grids, solar and gas-powered agriculture processing, food preservation and transportation solutions, solar home systems distribution, cold storage, and the combination of cold storage with mini-grids to serve the agricultural and economic needs within communities, among others.
Damilola Asaleye, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Ashdam Solar, one of the winners of the 2020 Challenge, said winning has transformed her company.
“Winning the Challenge meant products/service expansion and growth for us at Ashdam Solar…The funds made it possible for us to deploy our very first solar mini-grid which brought energy security and economic development to last mile communities that have been living in darkness for over 40 years,” she said.