Banjul, Gambia – The United States Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Power Africa, worked with the Government of The Gambia and the private sector to launch the country’s first Solar Green Mini Grid Plant located at Nyamanarr in the Upper River Region.
The project, financed under the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) with support from USAID and Power Africa, involved the design, supply, installation and commissioning of a 120.6 kW solar PV off grid containerized mini grid with battery storage, grid interface, and remote monitoring systems. The project involved installing the generation equipment, building the required distribution network, and supplying 200 smart meters for households in Nyamanarr as well as conducting in-door wiring in households.
This effort will provide electricity access to more than 4,000 residents in the Nyamanarr community who have not had access to any modern energy services for more than a century. This innovative solution will provide access to electricity for the community to support productive activities and enable the community to move up the socio-economic development ladder. With electricity in the village, youth can stay and work in the village, internet facilities with hotpots will be set-up for both educational and leisure purposes, children can study at night, new businesses will grow, and existing enterprises can expand.
The Chargé d'affaires, to The Gambia, Virginia Elliott, commends Unique Energy, promoters of the mini-grid and the Government of The Gambia for working together to see the project come to fruition despite the initial challenges.
“Partnerships between the private and public sector underpin how Power Africa works with many entities in providing effective solutions. It’s exciting to see communities like Nyamanarr benefiting from renewable energy,” Ms. Elliott said.
Power Africa is the U.S. government-led partnership coordinated by USAID to double electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative works through local partnerships such as this one with ECREEE, and also through the Power Africa Off- Grid Program to extend electricity access to remote rural communities such Nyamannar and several others across the sub-region that still do not have access to modern energy services. The U.S. government invests approximately $50 million in partnership with The Gambia and will continue to support partnerships aimed at developing a sustainable energy landscape in West Africa, including the $25 million Millennium Challenge Threshold program.