In 2019, ElectriFI, the Electrification Financing Initiative invested €1.7 million in PowerGen, one of the leading electricity mini-grid developers in sub-Saharan Africa. ElectriFI investment aims to help PowerGen connect more than 1 million people to reliable electricity by 2030.
Founded in 2011 in Kenya, the company has grown over the years from being a local contractor installing off-grid power systems for schools, refugee camps and tourist lodges to now being a market leader in microgrids. Over the past 8 years, PowerGen has installed more than 200 solar systems in 7 countries from Somaliland to Mozambique, from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Sierra Leone. Today, PowerGen serves over 15,000 connections across Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. These homes, businesses and public facilities across the continent are now getting electricity from a solar-hybrid power system generating power for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The company’s overarching goal is to leverage the latest energy technologies to fulfil an ambitious two-fold objective:
- Build the energy system of the future in Africa by providing cleaner, smarter and better distributed energy
- Transform lives through smarter power by connecting the 600 million Africans without access to reliable power
Thanks to PowerGen’s microgrid solutions, families and entrepreneurs can drastically reduce their consumption of kerosene, firewood, noisy generators, and small unreliable solar home systems in favour of reliable, cleaner and cheaper energy.
PowerGen’s microgrids enable low-income people in rural sub-Saharan Africa to access energy for commercial purposes, helping them generate more income and lifting them out of poverty.
Janeth Matayo Kaboula lives in Nemba (Tanzania) with her family. She is working as a tailor. After connecting to PowerGen’s microgrid, Janeth finally gained access to electricity. It enabled her to adapt her working schedule, allowing her to spend quality time with her children and work at night once the babies were asleep. “I can work longer hours and at any time of day depending on my schedule. This has enabled me to make more profits. I have opened a bank account where I am saving to buy more machines as I look to expand my business,” she explains.
Mariseli Joseph Sawa is a barber in the village of Londoni in central Tanzania. Before PowerGen’s arrival, Joseph would get electricity for his clippers from a neighbour that was running a generator only in the evenings for a monthly fee. He would lose customers that came to his shop outside of the generator’s running hours. When he connected to the mini-grid, he was no longer bound to the generator. Joseph explains, “With PowerGen, anytime I get a customer, I can work”. Now with electricity available 24/7, he is able to attend all the customers and has seen an increase of more than 50% on his income.
ElectriFI's investment is essential for PowerGen to be able to continue growing and deploying new mini-grids rapidly. The sector needs to continue mobilising large amounts of investment to make meaningful strides towards SDG7, 'Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.'