RP Global’s Jumeme Rural Power Supply has begun construction of the first phase of its solar-hybrid mini-grid project in Tanzania which will see 11 new mini-grids constructed to bring 24/7 electricity supply to the Lake Victoria population of more than 80,000 people.
Built on a cluster of islands in Lake Victoria, these independent solar-hybrid mini-grids, equipped with battery storage technology, will electrify 20 villages. This project was enabled by the European Union which provided co-financing through the ACP- EU Energy Facility. Commissioning is scheduled to take place in June of this year.
In the upcoming second scaling phase of the project, Jumeme aims to build up to 11 more mini-grids to electrify 23 additional villages, bringing energy services to a population of over 160,000 people. This project extension is well underway, with consents and permits already secured and preparations for the implementation taking place.
Leo Schiefermüller, director of RP Global Africa, commented on the development conditions in the country: “Besides the existing legal framework and the favourable solar resources, our decision to invest in Tanzania is a direct consequence of the low electrification rate in the country. Solar hybrid mini-grids are the least-cost electrification option, especially in rural areas and the pay-as-you-go business model of Jumeme makes electricity consumption for the customer affordable.”
Driving rural economic growth
Jumeme’s first mini-grid system, which is in operation since early 2016, confirms the great potential for increased rural economic growth when clean energy starts powering people’s lives and business ventures. This is especially true for women who are provided with new means to gain economic independence by founding electricity-reliant businesses. In addition, access to electricity will enable the installation of irrigation systems and water pumps, thereby reducing the adverse impact of droughts. It will also improve the production of food and its storage.
“Many of the remote communities in Tanzania are still without access to electricity. So far, our regions of operation show some of the lowest rural electrification rates in Tanzania, ranging between 3-5%. In these areas, the population is widely dispersed across numerous distant villages and small towns making it hard to connect them through the national grid. By 2023, Jumeme could supply high quality and reliable electricity to one million Tanzanians, making this company the largest mini-grid operator in Sub-Sahara Africa, if the political and regulatory situation improves for investors,” concluded Schiefermüller.