Phanes Group opens African solar power incubator to unlock potential of energy in the region
Phanes Group, an integrated end-to-end solar provider headquartered in Dubai, has launched its first Solar Incubator program, aimed at identifying PV projects of potential in sub-Saharan Africa by providing access to funding, and commercial and technical knowledge.
The initiative, ‘The PV Solar Incubator, Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future,’ will be held in partnership with Hogan Lovells, Proparco, responsAbility, RINA Consulting and Solarplaza, and invites PV developers to submit proposals for projects that are based in sub-Saharan Africa, and have a clear CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) component.
Candidates are asked to submit their proposals by October 1, 2017, via Phanes Group’s website. Shortlistees will be invited to pitch their projects to an expert panel comprised of the incubator’s partner organizations at Solarplaza’s “Unlocking Solar Capital Africa” conference in Côte d’Ivoire, October 25 – 26, where the industry’s biggest players will hold extensive discussions about solutions for Africa’s solar energy funding gap.
It comes as part of Phanes Group’s core strategy to collaborate with Africa-focused counterparties, such as local project owners, governments, and developers on projects that seek to create a sustainable future for urban and rural communities across the sub-Saharan region.
“Clean energy has the potential to transform sub-Saharan Africa for years to come, but successfully implemented PV solar projects require a diverse mix of expertise and knowledge to bring them to financial close,” said Martin Haupts, CEO, Phanes Group. “We believe the Phanes Group Solar Incubator -in collaboration with our partners- will leverage untapped local PV potential, and create more opportunities for local projects. Combined with our strengths in developing bankable solutions for clean, affordable energy and efforts in CSR, the incubator initiative can help to address local needs that haven’t yet been met.”
Christopher Cross of law firm Hogan Lovells, who will be part of the evaluation panel at the event, said “We are both honoured and excited to be invited to take part in an on-the-ground initiative such as this. The Solar Incubator seeks to foster both local innovation and investment to bring potential opportunities to fruition for the social and economic benefit of the region and its people.”
There are currently more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa living without electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), which works to ensure global access to reliable, affordable and clean energy.
This initiative aims to support developers not just in the funding phase, but throughout the project development and delivery phases, to ensure important, CSR-focused projects are brought to financial close. Phanes Group, along with its partners, will provide PV developers with access to a reliable partner that will support them in reaching bankability. Through an initial incubator phase, extensive mentorship, and access to the right network, this year’s candidates will have an opportunity to roll-out a sustainable energy solution in their community, as well as develop a lasting relationship with an end-to-end, integrated solar expert.
Joseph Nganga, Executive Director, responsAbility Renewable Energy Holding, another participating partner, said, “We aim to finance ideas with growth potential and strong entrepreneurial spirit, that successfully serve broad segments of the population. This is why we are excited to be collaborating with Phanes Group on this incubator, and looking forward to our continued partnership with the solar sector in sub-Saharan Africa going forward.”
After the winning project(s) have been announced at the “Unlocking Solar Capital Africa” event, the developers will be invited to join Phanes Group for an intensive 4-day workshop at its headquarters in Dubai, UAE. This will help lay the foundations for delivering a bankable and sustainable project.
“RINA Consulting is keen to assist Phanes Group in this ingenious initiative to unlock solar potential on the continent. We look forward to helping projects find their way to implementation in this challenging but exciting market” said Lee Smith, Project Manager for Africa, RINA Consulting.
“As dreamers of a future where everybody can have access to electricity for a fair price, initiatives focused on long-term success like the Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator are always dear to our hearts,” said Edwin Koot, Solarplaza. “Renewable energy infrastructure projects result in myriad benefits. We wish participants the best in bringing forth this ripple effect to their communities, and look forward to meeting them at the “Unlocking Solar Capital Africa” conference this October,” Edwin Koot added.