OnePower receives grant funding from UNDP and UNCDF for 10 mini-grid projects in Lesotho

OnePower receives grant funding from UNDP and UNCDF for 10 mini-grid projects in Lesotho

OnePower is glad to announce that it was selected preferred bidder for receiving capital grants to develop 10 mini-grids in Lesotho’s rural areas. The mini-grid sites are Matsoaing, Thlanyaku, Sehlabathebe, Lebakeng, Tosing, Sebapala, Sehonghong, Mashai, Ribaneng, and Ketane.

The Government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology (MEM) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) created the “Development of Cornerstone Public Policies and Institutional Capacities to Accelerate Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Progress” Project to catalyze investment in renewable energy minigrids and energy centers in Lesotho via Financial Support Schemes (FSS). The project aims to jump-start the market for renewable energy minigrids and energy centers by providing startup capital and minimizing risk for private sector investors.

The FSS is supervised by an Investment Committee which includes members of MEM, Ministry of Finance, MEM’s Rural Electrification Unit, Lerotholi Polytechnic and the National University of Lesotho. A total of 74 proposals were received and evaluated by UNCDF to assess the viability of the proposed business models. OnePower was selected as preferred bidder for all 10 sites.

Matthew Orosz, OnePower Chief Executive Officer, commented: “This type of capital grant is important to catalyze the minigrid sector in Lesotho. It reduces risk for private sector investors and sends a signal to stakeholders that there is broad support for minigrid business models. We thank the MEM, UNDP, UNCDF teams as well as the Investment Committee for their support of OnePower’s mission: To provide affordable and reliable electricity services to off-grid villages, giving families, schools, health clinics, and local businesses the resources needed to grow and thrive.”

OnePower has obtained the required Concession Agreements for 8 out of 10 sites thus far and is currently obtaining the remaining two agreements. On the ground, OnePower’s team is undertaking detailed surveys of all sites as part of its mini-grid development process. Phased construction on all sites will begin later this year and is expected to be finalized towards the end of 2021, pending further Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.