French energy giant Engie claims to have become the market leader in off-grid solar in Africa following the acquisition of Germany’s Mobisol. When the transaction closes, which is expected in October, Mobisol will join solar home system company Fenix International and mini-grid developer PowerCorner under the umbrella of Engie’s distributed power business. The company has been aggressively targeting the market with the intention of being able to provide the full range of electrification options to emerging countries.
Through Fenix, Engie already provides energy and financial services to more than 500,000 customers in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia. PowerCorner operates some 12 mini-grids in Tanzania, and inaugurated its first one in Zambia in April (AE 390/12). Engie intends to develop 2,000 mini-grids on the continent by 2025.
“Engie is convinced that universal access to quality affordable electricity is possible in the medium term,” Engie Africa chief innovation and new business officer Raphael Tilot told African Energy.“We think that this can be achieved by a combination of off-grid solutions: small size such as solar home systems, medium size such as mini-grids, and then centralised generation systems. We believe that the Sustainable Development Goal number seven set by the United Nations, which aims for full electrification by 2030, is possible.”
The latest off-grid developments and data trends will be discussed at the fourth annual Off-grid Investment Exchange, which is being held on the second day of the sixth annual Africa Investment Exchange: Power & Renewables meeting (RSA House, London, 13-14 November).