Location: Nigeria’s northern and Kano regions
Project type: Off-grid, solar home systems service
Technology: Solar home systems
Capacity: 1MWp
Camco involvement: Origination, finance

Project summary

Tens of thousands of schoolchildren will be able to study at night for the first time thanks to a REPP-supported solar home system (SHS) venture which is set to deliver safety and comfort to isolated rural communities in northern Nigeria.

UK-based developer, Pan Africa Solar, plans to install more than 100,000 self-contained off-grid systems over three years, nearly a quarter of which will be installed with the support of REPP loans. The systems use technology developed by another UK firm, BBOXX, and will provide LED lighting and power for a range of electrical appliances.

Until now, most of the low-income families and micro-businesses set to benefit from the initiative have had to rely on expensive and polluting kerosene lamps and drycell torches for home lighting – or simply gone without.

But with the 50Wp solar PV panel and 17Ah battery installed with every Pan Africa Solar system, whole communities are now getting access to clean, reliable and affordable electricity. Customers simply have to hook up their LED lights (included in the basic package) and other devices to the plug-and-play power unit to receive immediate access to on-demand energy. The basic package can be upgraded with simple accessories including a radio, rechargeable torches and hair clippers, while TVs are available through the most expensive packages.

Pan Africa Solar’s CEO, Marcus Heal, said the company is extremely pleased with the early successes that have been achieved through rolling out the British technology in a challenging environment.

“The benefit that our customers will gain from the service is transformational and we are proud to be building this business with the support of REPP,” he added.

With the support of a $2.2m REPP loan, the units are initially being installed in customers’ homes and businesses – including bakers, barbers and millers in the Kano regions in the north-west and central areas of Nigeria.

To date, REPP has helped finance an initial purchase of 2,600 systems, which will enable over 30,000 people to receive emission-free power. Further support is being provided in the form of technical assistance, structuring support and results-based finance over the course of the project’s development phase.

Kristoffer Laurson, CFO of Pan Africa Solar, said: “REPP has provided our venture with a flexible and innovative financing structure, which permits us to scale up the business faster than would be possible with traditional instruments.

“We look forward to expanding our collaboration and developing a financially viable business model for this massive customer base.”

The project is also expected to provide several hundred permanent local jobs thanks to the service business model, whereby the installation is maintained as long as the customers pay the affordable monthly rental payment.

SHS Nigeria underlines the important role standalone SHS have in providing a cost-effective power supply for lighting and appliances to remote, off-grid households, and demonstrates the financial viability of such initiatives to other developers and investors.

“Since I installed PAS BBOXX in my bakery I have noticed I make more profit because I spend less on energy and have more time for production.”

– Annur, baker

“I would have to travel miles to charge my phone three times a week but now I charge my family phones in the comfort of my house.”

– Kamel Mohammed, homeowner