USAID launches US$1.5mn solar home programme in Malawi

malawi rural solarThe United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in support of the USA Government-led Power Africa initiative, has launched a “Solar Home System Kick-Starter Programme for Malawi” to expand energy access in the country via solar home systems (SHS)

Power Africa will commit US$5mn of support to the programme, with US$1.5mn going towards results-based grants for SHS companies.

Starting in early 2019, the programme is set to offer three pillars of support to successful programme applicants such as results-based grant finance, operational support and access to working capital financiers.

Requests for Application (RFA) are open until 22 March 2019.

The SHS Kick-Starter Programme aims to catalyse the increased investment and rapid growth in the sector over a three-year period. Through building coalitions within the donor community, the program complements and amplifies World Bank efforts to energize the SHS market in Malawi.

“We estimate that the program will allow 100,000 to 150,000 households with access to power, bringing in up to US$22.5mn of foreign direct investment into Malawi,” said United States Mission Director Littleton Tazewell.

A wide range of partners are supporting the programme including local financiers (FDH Bank, Kuwa Capital, National Bank of Malawi and Standard Bank), international financiers (Lion’s Head Global Partners and SunFunder) and awareness-raising institutions (SolarAid).

The USAID Southern Africa Energy Programme is a five-year, 11 country programme funded by USAID in support of the USA Government-led Power Africa initiative. To date, Power Africa’s more than 150 private and public-sector partners have committed more than US$56bn to mobilise and organise international efforts to electrify Africa.

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