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Mines ministry launches solar fund to ramp up rural electrification

Mines ministry launches solar fund to ramp up rural electrification

Business Reporter

ACCORDING to Namibia Household national data, only 20% of houses located in rural areas are connected to a power grid.

To ramp up the access to electricity for these mostly marginalized households, the Ministry of Mines and Energy launched the Green People’s Energy Project under its Solar Revolving Fund.

Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy Kornelia Shilunga said the project aims to contribute to universal and sustainable energy access for the people of Namibia and strengthen the renewable energy sector with a focus on promoting off-grid electrification, in rural areas.

Photo for illustrative purposes only: SKJ Travel

The project was funded by the Federal Republic of Germany to the tune of 330 000 Euro.

Shilunga said there are currently 235 884 rural households of which 35 855 are connected to the grid, while 18 324 rural households have access to solar energy, giving a rural electrification rate estimation of 20%.

The statistics show that over 80% of rural households use wood for cooking, and over 50% use battery lamps, torches or cellphones for lighting, with 10% using candles.

She said households with access to renewable energy for cooking are less than 2% and about 7% for lighting.

Shilunga said the Solar Revolving Fund is a credit facility administered by the Ministry of Mines and Energy to stimulate demand for the deployment of renewable energy technologies in off-grid areas, especially for communities living in rural areas, but also for urban clients.

The deputy minister said it is an element of the Off-Grid Energisation Master Plan for Namibia (OGEMP), geared towards providing access to suitable renewable energy technologies in off-grid areas.

The Fund offers subsidised loans to Namibian citizens at an interest rate of five per cent per annum over five years. The revolving element of loans financed through the Solar Revolving Fund is to ensure more people benefit from the Fund.

During Harambee Prosperity Plan Two, the government and the Ministry of Mines and Energy in particular aim to electrify about 6 000 rural and 13 000 peri-urban households.

This project aims to contribute toward achieving the energy goals of a secure and cost-effective energy supply.

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