Nigerian, Cameroonian solar startups win $5m funding

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Solar startups from Nigeria and Cameroon have emerged the winners from Access Infra Africa’s inaugural Access Co-Development Fund (ACF), walking away with US$5 million in funding.

Disrupt Africa reported last week four African solar startups were going head-to-head for the funding at the Africa Energy Forum 2015 in Dubai, with the competition aimed at bridging the gap between early-stage renewable energy projects and expertise and funding.

Nigeria’s Quaint Solar Energy and Cameroon’s Flatbush Solar emerged the winners. Quaint Solar Energy was picked for its ABIBA Solar Project, a 50 MW solar development that will utilise photovoltaic technology and aims to reduce Nigeria’s power deficit. The Maroua Solar Project from Flatbush Solar is a 20 MW solar fixed ground mount photovoltaic plant, designed to serve the energy needs of the city of Maroua and neighbouring towns and villages.

The two companies beat off competition from a 20 MW photovoltaic plant by Ada Solar Energy in Ghana and a 10 MW solar plant by Wagonanze Investments in Tanzania after being selected by an expert panel at a live session at the Africa Energy Forum, based on commercial, technical and environmental merits, the local regulatory environment, and the project team.

“I would like to thank our expert panel for their time and industry-specific insights which were instrumental in the selection of Flatbush Solar and Quaint Solar Energy as the winners of the inaugural ACF. It is a fantastic opportunity to be able to partner with two projects that will undoubtedly have a positive social and economic impact in their respective regions, and we look forward to working closely with them as they progress towards becoming operational,” said Reda El Chaar, chairman of Access Power MEA.

“The ACF was extremely successful in its first year, receiving over 55 submissions in less than two months; a remarkable feat which in many ways reflects the potential of renewable energy across Africa. I am confident that the competition will gain more momentum in the years to come.”

Seun Solesi, director at Quaint Solar Energy, said he was delighted to partner with Access Infra Africa to develop the ABIBA Solar Project in Nigeria.

“Their funding, technical support and guidance will undoubtedly play a key role in bringing the project to fruition and creating significant benefit for all our stakeholders,” he said.

Samuel Tesfaye, managing director of Flatbush Solar, said: “Through this win, the Maroua Solar Project will be able to boost electricity supply to Maroua and its neighboring villages in Cameroon. We are pleased that Access Infra Africa recognises the importance of providing funding and technical expertise to early-stage projects within the renewable energy sector in Africa.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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