Solar Firm in Madagascar Secures Funding to Power 50,0000 homes

By Joshua Samuel

Off-grid solar firm WeLight from Madagascar has received 19 million euros ($20.57 million) to power 50,000 homes over the next two years, the company announced on Tuesday.

Off-grid solar power, promoted by a number of start-ups, has grown in popularity in Africa because it can economically supply clean energy to millions of homes that are not connected to traditional electricity grids.

WeLight, which enables consumers to prepay for their electricity through mobile banking, is aimed at the 90% of the country’s rural population that lacks access to electricity, according to the company.

According to a statement released by WeLight, the European Investment Bank (EBI), EDFI ElectriFI, and Triodos Investment Management are providing funding for the project.

Axian Group of Madagascar, Norfund, and Sagemcon own the solar energy company WeLight, which already supplies 9,000 rural Malagasy households with electricity. The company claimed it tested five mini-grids in Mali in 2021 and is looking into potential in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Overall population of Madagascar is 29 million. With extra funding given by the shareholders in the form of loans, the most recent Madagascar expansion, which will cost a total of 27 million euros, will include 120 more villages. According to Maud Watelet, senior investment officer of EDFI, one of the financiers, the fresh amount of funding would aid the company in continuing to grow its activities.

It will enable the company to deploy more than 100 small grids in Madagascar, a region with difficult logistical constraints and a very low rate of electrification, she said. According to the company, WeLight constructs small solar power plants, storage facilities, distribution lines, and installs meters at each customer’s location to provide 24/7 electricity.

Small enterprises will also be among the beneficiaries, who have already been identified through a program run in conjunction with the ministry of energy, according to WeLight.

According to Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the lender, EIB’s engagement in the initiative demonstrated its dedication to assisting the battle against climate change by supplying clean energy to communities in Africa.

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