A rural settlement in Tanzania © 123RF
A rural settlement in Tanzania © 123RF

Solar mini grids to bring electricity to rural Tanzania

19 April 2016

A sustainable energy project that will supply electricity to thousands of people in rural Tanzania has been launched.

The JUMEME Rural Power Supply project aims to bring mini grids of electricity to more than 100,000 people and 2,340 small businesses in Tanzania’s rural centres using a combination of solar power, batteries and diesel generators.

The project is expected to help increase Tanzania’s rural electrification rate, which was estimated to be around 21% at the end of 2014.

The initial phase, scheduled to run until 2017, will establish around 28 mini grids with a focus on supplying key customers such as the telecoms industry, mines and small businesses.

By 2022, JUMEME aims to implement around 300 mini grids and supply high quality and reliable electricity to 1m customers across Tanzania.

A pilot project in Bwisya Village in the Mwanza Region is to be carried out in two phases. Phase one is the installation of a mini grid comprising seven kilometres of low voltage lines, solar panels, a battery bank and a diesel generator.

A total of 250 domestic, commercial and small industrial clients in the centre of the village will be connected to the system within the next three months.

Phase two will involve increasing power capacity and connecting more villages.

The project is a partnership including TerraProjects, St Augustine University of Tanzania and RP Global, and it has received preparation support from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). It is co-financed by the European Union Energy Facility.

Managing director of TerraProjects Renewable Energy, Leo Schiefermueller, said that JUMEME would be implementing many projects in the coming years across Tanzania.

“It showcases the positive social, economic and environmental impact of sustainable electricity supply, based on a business model that provides development opportunities for rural citizens and fair returns for private investors,” he said.

SEFA coordinator Joao Duarte Cunha said that the roll-out of the project was testimony that innovative projects can become a reality with the right partners and support.

“SEFA is working to enable more projects like this one across the continent,” he said.

SEFA, launched in 2012, is a $95m multi donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy to support sustainable energy projects in Africa.

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