The ECOWAS Center for Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Regional Off-Grid Electricity Project has pledged to provide entrepreneur support to businesses in the standalone solar energy market.
This move is intended to address the needs of providing affordable and efficient solar energy to rural communities in West Africa and the Sahel and also intended to remove barriers which are in the way of entrepreneurs in the standalone solar energy market.
Making his presentation on the sub-component B of the financial assistance component of ROGEP, the Technical Specialist of ROGEP, Sire Diallo, said the support provided to these businesses will be available in two parts; financial and technical, as they will be geared towards supporting businesses that are in their early stages, start-up stages and mature stages.
He maintained that it is also intended to attract companies into the off-solar market and ensure that existing solar energy markets are giving solar and technical support and also in order to access funding and provide due diligence to the implementation of ROGEP.
The assistance according to Mr. Diallo will be given to standalone solar energy businesses in tiers 1,3 & 3. Businesses in tier 1 of this component are still in their startup phase and will be given entrepreneurship and business training, he disclosed.
While tier 2 businesses will receive customized acceleration support because they are in their early stages and tier 3 businesses which are mature will be given facilitation for non-solar businesses to expand in to the solar industry.
According to the ROGEP program, business and entrepreneurship training will be offered to tier 1 and 2 standalone solar business across the Region and the Sahel. The training courses will be open to all and the costs will be covered for some rural and poor participants.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Vickson Korlewala, of EcoPower Liberia, he alluded that ROGEP is a landmark project for the Region and the Sahel and will educate the financial institutions that by investing in solar energy is profitable and provide the banks the opportunity of empowering their citizens.
He stated that the banking industry in Liberia is yet to be educated enough to understand that by investing in solar energy power which they claimed is a risky business could benefit themselves immensely, increase the income of the citizens and assist in the development process of the country.
Commenting further, he said with the introduction of the ROGEP program, the standalone solar energy sector which he is already involved with, will be able to provide sustainable electricity to the needed population.
“There are so many things you can do with solar power, it is not only for giving out electricity but can also be used in increasing agriculture productivity and other production purposes,” Mr. Korlewala stressed pointing out that his organization has benefitted from all of the ROGEP trainings and that they are already providing the pay-as-you standalone solar energy power in rural Liberia but not on a larger like the ROGEP program will incorporate. “With ROGEP we are bound to succeed and lighting up Liberia, the Region and the Sahel”, he conclude.