Solar PV, Renewable Microgrids Stand Out in 2017 IRENA/ADFD Joint Facility Awards

Solar PV and microgrids stood out among other categories of emerging economy renewable energy projects vying for concessionary, “soft” loans in the International Renewable Energy Agency-Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Joint Project Facility’s (IRENA-ADFD JPF) fourth annual round of awards.

A $350 million joint investment facility, emerging economy renewable energy project developers planning to make use of bio, geothermal, hydro, ocean and wind energy resources are eligible to apply for IRENA-ADFD JPF loans. The program has also attracted another additional $387 million in co-financing, bringing the total amount of project funding available to $576 million.

Four renewable energy projects in Africa and the Pacific region are the latest selected and will receive $44.5 million in IRENA-ADFD JPF loans, which come with low interest rates and other favorable terms developers would not be able to qualify for in banking and financial markets. One combines home solar energy kits and a microgrid. Another in the Marshall Island entails construction of a hybrid solar PV-lithium ion battery-based (LiB) storage microgrid.

Islands in the Sun

With a rated capacity of 4.6-MW, the Marshall Islands solar-storage microgrid will be able to meet the electricity needs of more than 16,000 residents, virtually eliminating the need to import and use diesel fuel for power generation, IRENA highlights in a news release.

Island renewable energy projects also figure into two of the other three latest IRENA/ADFD Joint Facility loans:

  • Niger: A project focused on rural electrification for over 150,000 people, using 2.1-MW solar PV microgrids and solar home kits. One hundred schools will be electrified, drinking water supplies will be improved, and several thousand jobs will be created.
  • Seychelles: A government supported solar PV utility scale project will integrate a 5-MW solar PV plant into an existing wind farm, demonstrating an innovative space-saving solution for this small island nation. The project will reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, create almost 300, and supply renewable power to over 1,800 households — benefiting the entire population of 90,000 people.
  • Solomon Islands: A government-backed 20-MW reservoir dam and hydropower facility will diversify the country’s energy mix, provide renewable energy access to 5,000 people, create around 400 jobs, and avoid 44,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

“Over the course of the last four years, the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility has identified path breaking renewable energy projects that are helping to expand access to energy, bolster energy security and provide sustainable, affordable energy for those who need it most,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“Importantly, this Facility is also putting in place an innovative process which supports transformational and replicable projects that can potentially bring sustainable energy to millions of people around the world.”

Favorable Financing for Emerging Economy Renewable Energy Projects

IRENA and ADFD have awarded a total $189 million to fund 19 renewable energy development projects in developing countries worldwide via their joint facility since 2013. Project developers also are able to seek out additional financing from sources participating in IRENA’s Sustainable Energy Marketplace.

Renewable energy project developers awarded loans over the first four IRENA-ADFD JPF award cycles will bring more than 100-MW of renewable energy capacity online, and improve the livelihoods of over a million people, the organizations say.

Projects selected to date have included off-grid, mini-grid and on-grid projects incorporating a variety of renewable energy resources – wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biomass sources included. Applications for the next rounding of IRENA/ADFDProject Facility funding will be accepted until 15 February 2017.

“ADFD is committed towards steadfast development in the renewable energy sector; it’s a crucial industry for sustainable continuity, long-term growth and constructive evolution of developing nations,” ADFD executive director, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi was quoted as saying.

“Over seven funding cycles, our USD 350 million partnership, IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, aims to support and enhance the developing world’s energy needs by tapping into their abundant renewable energy sources.

Andrew is a well seasoned and traveled freelance reporter and editor, covering the the nexus where new energy technology, markets, ecosystems and political economy intersect and overlap.

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