Energy made up 52% of PIDG company investments in 2017, reflecting the impact that access to reliable power has on home life and business opportunities.
While investment in large-scale energy supply is vital, providing power essential for national grid stability, many remote communities need a more immediate and localised solution.
PIDG company InfraCo Africa, is working at the leading edge of off-grid power, committing $5m to support private sector partner Redavia, to scale up its solar business in rural Tanzania.
The company can now deploy sustainable solar power in the remote communities of Shitunguru and Isenzanya and to major industries in the country.
Teacher Pilly Mwashiyombo said: “Power helps when I need light for preparing study materials for my next lessons. The availability of light has also improved the kids’ performance.”
And it is not just the school which has been helped. Access to reliable off-grid power has had a positive impact on employment, health and security.
Redavia addresses this need by deploying containerised solar PV panels, which have an installed capacity of 89KW and can be connected to a mini-grid in just six days. Customers pay for what they use via mobile banking and battery storage enables them to access clean power 24/7.
Elly Mwasenga, a former farmer who had the opportunity to become a welder once the solar panels were installed in his home village, Isenzanya, said: “Truly this electricity is changing lives.”
Christopher Mwamlima (21) is an entrepreneur in Shitunguru, who runs a small cinema where he shows African, Indian, Chinese and Korean films. Reliable electricity inspired Christopher to return to the village from Tanzania’s capital Dar es Salaam to develop his business ideas.
Pilly Mwashiyombo (37) teaches English in Nambinzo Secondary School, Shitunguru, where she has seen her pupils top the regional attainment league since reliable power was introduced. Before, it was dark at 6pm and Pilly had to use unreliable, expensive diesel generators for light to prepare lessons. She now teaches night classes too.
Roida Kajiba (52) is a public health worker and nurse in Shitunguru. With power available, women are increasingly going to the dispensary to give birth to their children. They no longer worry about a lack of reliable lighting for night-time deliveries and are more relaxed.
Musa Haonga (27) began work as a security guard for Redavia, patrolling the solar farm to prevent thefts. He was fascinated by the off-grid solar power system and grew his skills as an electrician, before becoming assistant technician. Musa now works with the head technician to connect new customers and maintain the solar farm in Shitunguru.