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Eligibility criteria

Our experts can offer the following types of support to developers:

  • Technical and engineering support – this includes pre-feasibility and feasibility work, site selection, renewable resource assessments, technical design of the distribution and generation systems, procurement of equipment, construction and commissioning of the systems, operation and maintenance of the systems, and metering.
  • Business and financial advice – this includes business plan development, corporate structuring, tariff design and payment collection, financial modelling, financial controlling and book-keeping, capital raising, monitoring and evaluation, and general matchmaking with governments, regulators, investors, financial institutions, consultants and suppliers.
  • Legal and compliance advice – this includes compliance with licensing and permitting rules, including environmental and social impact assessments, and contracts (land agreements, power purchase agreements, end user contracts).
  • Market scoping, development and community advice – these include demand assessment, access to land, promotion of semi-industrial and commercial end users, customer relationship management, community governance structures and broader community engagement.

The level of service offered to developers will depend on the requirements of the applicant and the views of our experts. It will typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Intensive support, which could involve several weeks or months of work with our experts and include site visits.
  • Light support, which could include calls with an expert or online support to address a specific topic.
  • Access to all the resources of the GMG Help Desk for registered developers.

Those applying for Help Desk support must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • They must be a privately owned and managed company or at least have some private sector involvement eg a public-private partnership.
  • They must be a developer of mini-grids. A mini-grid is defined as a set of small-scale electricity generators and possibly energy storage systems interconnected to a distribution network that supplies electricity to a small, localised group of customers and operates independently from the national transmission grid. They typically range in a size from a few kilowatts up to 10 megawatts.
  • The mini-grids must be green. GMGs generate a significant portion of electricity from renewable sources (eg solar PV, hydro, biomass or wind). GMGs include both purely renewable projects and renewable-diesel hybrids, including refurbishment of existing diesel mini-grids.
  • The mini-grids must be located in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) (including South Africa).

Developers are free to submit applications throughout the year, and the applications will be processed on a first come - first served basis.

Support will be provided free of charge to developers in most cases, although beneficiaries will be expected to complete monitoring and evaluation surveys for reporting purposes.

In principle, any type of GMG or developer will be considered for Help Desk support:

  • All sizes of project, from the very small micro-grids (a few kilowatts and above) to small independent power producers (up to 10 megawatts)
  • All stages of project development, from the more advanced (which may include extensions of existing GMGs or hybridisations of existing diesel mini-grids or new GMGs that have the required approvals and are ready for capital raising) to the less advanced (which may be pilots for new GMG business or financial models or some of the first GMGs in a country)
  • All countries in SSA, including more developed mini-grid markets and less developed ones
  • All renewable technologies, including renewable-diesel hybrids
  • Both international and local developers

We will not support direct applications by mini-grid developers for other grants or competitive tenders, although we do collaborate with other grant providers by supporting their pipeline of developers.

Preference will be given to mini-grids and developers with the following characteristics:

  • Projects that are deemed to be scalable or sustainable
  • Projects where our support is complementary to other donor programs
  • Projects that fit with the priorities of the African Development Bank and the donors of SEFA
  • Developers with a track record in energy or community development schemes

Our experts will review completed questionnaires and arrange a call with eligible developers. During the call, developers will be able to explain their projects in more detail and what support they would like. The experts will then review the request and decide what type and level of support can be provided through the GMG Help Desk by Energy 4 Impact, INENSUS or third parties.

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