By Lincoln G. Peters
The Government of Liberia through the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency (RREA) launched the Liberia solar home system result-based financing (LSHS-RBF) project to provide off-grid electricity for rural communities in Liberia’s 15 counties.
The project, which was launched here on Wednesday, November 22, brought together several participants, including members of the Diplomatic Corps, partners, government officials, local engineers and companies that participated in persons and via zoom.
Under the project, EnDev will pilot both direct subsidies, incentivizing operational costs borne by off-grid companies’ and direct subsidies to reduce and end-consumer price for the most vulnerable electricity access for low-income households and support the development of the OGS market in Liberia to ensure long-term sustainability.
Furthermore, the project being implemented by the Government of Liberia through the RREA aims to expand electricity access through off-grid solar product and solar mini-grids in selected underserved counties of Liberia, particularly the poorer and more remote regions.
The LSHS-RBF project is expected to commence from November 2023 until June 2025 for the DS component and until 2026 for the IS component. Also, the pilot areas for indirect subsidy are selected based on the National Electrification Analysis recommendations while the direct subsidy pilot areas are additionally selected based on socio-economic vulnerability.
The LSHS-RBF is a World Bank-funded project under the “Liberia electricity sector strengthening and Access project (LESSAP) and implemented by the Rural and Renewable Energy Agency and Energising Development together with BRACE Liberia.
The implementers are jointly collaborating to implement the Liberia Solar Home System result-based financing project. The LSHS-RBF is a joint market-based, result-based financing project, providing incentives for the distribution of solar home system in Liberia.
Providing overview and expectation, Mr. Stephen V. Potters, Sr., Deputy Executive Director of RREA, said that the EnDev, jointly coordinated by GIZ and the Netherland Enterprise Agency (RVO) has secured funding for the implementation of a demand-side subsidies pilot in Liberia.
According to him, BRAC Liberia acts as fund manager for the EnDev DSS component in Liberia, adding that he is excited that Liberians are about to benefit from the project.
Remarking at the program, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Liberia, Dr. Jakob Haselhuber said that currently, only 7% of Liberians has access to greater LEC while another 21% of the population has access to off-grids electricity, such as generator and solar energy.
“This leaves close to two-thirds of the population without electricity. Electricity allows us to get informed about the society and interact with our family and friends. It’s a basic and important factor of human life. The International partners stand ready and prepared to support Liberia’s quest to close the electricity gape in Liberia”, he noted.
Ky Homg Tran, Energy Task Team Leader, World Bank Liberia and Rosy Choudhury, Country Director, BRACE Liberia in separate remarks, expressed excitement and appreciation to Liberia for the launch of the project.
According to them, the project will benefit Liberians, especially the poor and poorer, who are unable to afford electricity, adding that they remain committed in providing support to Liberia. Editing by Jonathan Browne