Phanes Group is once again on the look out for promising solar photovoltaic (PV) projects it can support in sub-Saharan Africa, as the company relaunches its Solar Incubator program. Now in its third consecutive year, the competition continues towards its goal of electrifying more communities for a sustainable future.
With over 600 million people lacking access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, the need for sustainable, affordable and commercially viable energy sources – such as solar PV – is undeniable. In the sub-Saharan region, a lack of energy access also remains a key barrier to economic and social progress. Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator was initiated in 2017 to tackle the issue head-on, fostering local innovation and investment by providing local solar PV developers with the funding and commercial and technical knowledge they otherwise couldn’t access. In 2018, that access to expertise was awarded to Senegalese engineer and innovator Mbaye Hadj.
“I had been working on my solar farm idea since July 2018, but these projects require a lot of intricate know-how, financial expertise, and funding – some of which I lacked,” noted Hadj. “The guidance of Phanes Group and its partners will allow us to finally bring our project to life, so we can feed power to Senegal’s national electricity company. By achieving this we’ll help the local economy to grow, which so far has been held back by a lack of electricity,” he added.
Hadj’s triumph came at the 2018 Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa conference, where he presented his proposal for a 30-megawatt solar farm in his hometown of Gossas, Senegal. Evaluation panel members were inspired by his desire to electrify schools, healthcare centers, and other critical services that are today in decline due to a lack of dependable power. Bettering applications from over 20 countries, Hadj also drew interest for his passion, knowledge, and heavy involvement in the region.
With the 2019 Solar Incubator open for entries, Phanes Group and its partners hope to see similar dynamism and community-focused concepts from this year’s applicants. Shortlisted developers will be invited to present their concept at Solarplaza’s Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa 2019 conference, held in Dakar, Senegal from October 16 to 17.