$7m funding available for renewable energy entrepreneurs

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Emerging markets power project operator Access Power has kicked off applications for the second Access Co-Development Facility (ACF), which offers renewable energy entrepreneurs the opportunity to walk away with US$7 million in funding.

The Access Power competition, for which applications are open until May 20, aims to find local power project developers with credible renewable energy projects in Africa who need access to funding, technical experience, and expertise to bring their plans to life.

Following the competition’s launch last year, the ACF increased its funding to US$7 million from US$5 million, with up to three successful projects to be selected by a panel of expert judges. Decisions will be made based on commercial, technical and environmental merits, the local regulatory environment, and capability of the project team.

The winners of ACF 2016 will be announced on June 22 during the Africa Energy Forum in London, with the winners to enter a Joint Development Agreement with Access Power. This will see the company take an equity stake in the winning projects and fund third-party development costs such as feasibility studies, grid studies, environmental and social impact assessments and due diligence fees.

“With just one month to go until the application deadline, we want to make sure that all local developers across the African continent are aware of this fantastic opportunity to secure valuable funding and expertise that can turn an idea for a renewable energy project into reality,” said Nasir Aku, ACF programme manager at Access Power.

“Through this unique facility, we hope to encourage innovation and support companies in their efforts to deliver power to places that desperately need it. Last year we received a total of 55 submissions from 18 countries across Africa, including solar, wind, hydro, hybrid and bio-mass projects. The applications are coming in fast so 2016 looks set to build on that success.”

The first ACF was won by Nigeria’s Quaint Solar Energy and Cameroon’s Flatbush Solar, with other competing projects coming from Cape Verde, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania.

One project, meanwhile, has already pre-qualified for ACF 2016, after Sierra Leone-based Africa Growth and Energy Solutions (AGES) won the Solar Shark Tank competition at the Making Solar Bankable conference in Amsterdam on February 18.

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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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