The preparation of the mini-grid projects has been led by the DIFD-supported Essor Access to Electricity (Essor A2E) program which aims at supporting the development of green mini-grid solar projects in the DRC over the next few years. Phase I will procure three solar PV mini-grids projects through a competitive tendering process (to be launched in Q3 2018) in the cities of Isiro, Bumba and Genema. The subsequent tenders will replicate the scheme and scale up investment to the sector. Envisioned mini-grids would consist of hybrid PV power plants, back up diesel generation, and battery storage (equivalent to 24 hours consumption) with associated 15kV distribution and LV networks to reach scattered consumers. Each mini-grid will aim to connect around 10,000 households and businesses over the life of the projects. It is estimated that around 80-85% of generation will be from solar PV and the balance will be diesel-based. Anchor customers such as REGIDESO (water supplier with envisioned escrow account mechanism) and SMEs will be identified for each mini-grid. The AfDB is engaging closely with the Essor program to provide debt financing and arrange co-financing from the GCF and others for three selected projects as a lead arranger.
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