Off-grid energy developer, Winch Energy, has been granted $16m funding for 49 mini-grids in Uganda and Sierra Leone. The company also announced the creation of Winch Energy IPP Holdings Limited (WIPP), a platform that facilitates finance for electrification projects in Africa, set up by Winch Energy in partnership with NEoT Off-grid Africa.
The deal concluded by Winch Energy IPP Holdings Limited (WIPP), represents the largest mini-grid financing portfolio to date.
“We are thrilled to have achieved the funding for our projects in Sierra Leone and Uganda through the creation of this new platform, Winch Energy IPP Holdings, with our partners NEoT Africa. This platform will enable us to rapidly scale up operations in Africa. Not only does this deal pave the future for Winch Energy as a leader in large-scale off-grid renewables, it also stimulates economic growth and improves education and healthcare provision in remote communities,” said Nicholas Wrigley, CEO of Winch Energy Limited.
Electricity access for 60 000 people through mini-grids
The mini grids will be built with Winch Energy’s own proprietary technology, the Remote Power Unit (RPU), and will be operational within the next 12 months, providing remote communities with affordable, clean energy and access to essential services.
The project will have a capacity of connecting more than 6,500 customers. The sites, located in the Lamwo district of Uganda and in Tonkolili, Koinadugu and Bombali districts of Sierra Leone will supply clean energy to over 60,000 people for the first time.
A further 6,000 portable batteries will also be installed through the project to provide people outside of the mini grid catchment area with clean electricity. In addition to energy access, the project will also provide internet to the communities through partnerships with telecom operators in both countries. The developments will open up a pipeline of additional projects in both countries, further securing Winch Energy’s position in the off-grid market.
Winch Energy’s expansion ambitions
Winch Energy through its vehicle Winch IPP Holdings Limited, expects to expand operations and rollout mini-grids in more countries, with ambitions to reach some $100 Million of operating projects in the next 24 months.
Winch Energy is owned by Total Eren, Itochu Corporation, Al Gihaz Holdings and Winch Partners.
The company currently operates 13 sites in northern Sierra Leone, which were completed as part of an earlier phase of this project. Winch also powers communities in Benin, Mauritania and Angola, with a project to supply power to 20,000 residents in Bunjako on Uganda’s Lake Victoria expected to be fully operational by March 2021.