French-based Engie subsidiary, Engie Energy Access’ launch of the Crowdfund for Solar decentralized financing platform (DeFI) exceeded its targeted $100,000 via crypto-based crowdfunding in a mere seven hours.
The platform, designed in partnership with Swiss NGO Energy Web and hosted on their open-source infrastructure, allows investors to purchase Energy Web Tokens (EWTs) in support of off-grid solar deployment, remunerated on a fixed return model with profits up to 10% on their stake.
With this revolutionary financing model, the subsidiary of Engie is able to roll out autonomous solar home systems (SHSs) for schools, households and SME beneficiaries who acquire high-end solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment on a pay as you go (PAYG) system.
Under Engie’s ground-breaking participatory finance platform, each crypto EWT represents $5. Investors receive reliable returns on top of the satisfaction of having helped mitigate climate change’s detriments, while beneficiaries receive loans at preferential rates, facilitating access to the latest PV equipment for a robust, equitable energy transition.
Furthermore, over 30% of loans are specifically allocated to female-headed households and stakeholders, helping to combat lingering gender inequities while delivering rural electrification where it’s needed most. Initial projects will center on Zambia and Rwanda with rural energy access rates of 11% and 44% respectively, however subsequent expansion will turn to other sub-Saharan nations. Notably, in the MSGBC basin, Senegal’s rural electrification sits at under 40%, Mauritania, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry all facing lower rates.
So, is cryptocurrency the future of low-carbon energy finance? Certainly, the potential is self-evident. Engie alone has delivered renewable energy to seven million people across nine countries to date, as a competitive off-grid, PAYG solar and mini-grid solution provider. Others are undertaking similar programs, with the Électricité de France (EDF) launching its own Diaspora energy by EDF participatory finance platform in 2021. The need for such innovation could not be more urgent. Up to 650 million Africans lack access to electricity, yet the continent receives less than 2% of renewable energy financing. West Africa itself holds the fastest growing population globally, however, climate change threatens to undermine its socioeconomic development, cutting up to 20% of the region’s GDP per annum.
A new energy investment paradigm is required, and the upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference 2022 is expected to lay the foundations of the continent’s energy transition, driving an ambitious renewables adoption narrative ahead of the approaching COP27. Opened by H.E. Macky Sall, Senegalese President and African Union Chairperson, MSGBC 2022 will convene high-level delegates including heads of state, ministries, national oil companies, international oil company executives and investors from across Africa, Europe, Asia, America, Australia and the Middle East to write a future for African power that develops Africa.
Every MSGBC nation is targeting universal electrification by 2025 or 2030, and with $9 billion in energy megadevelopments launching next year, the region’s rise to global power prominence is imminent, a further $43.5 billion of projects already on the horizon. To join this highly anticipated event and access unparalleled networking and finance opportunities, gaining strategic insights into the burgeoning downstream and transitional sectors at high-level roundtables sessions across two days of packed programming, head to https://msgbcoilgasandpower.com/ to register.