Project Finance News

Published: September 20, 2017

Project finance looks to off-grid opportunities in Africa

Off-grid power and captive energy projects are taking up some of the slack as big infrastructure deals stall, says Standard Bank.

Banks and project sponsors in Sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly looking for opportunities in small-scale, off-grid power and innovative renewable energy solutions, as the pipeline of big ticket projects dries up, according to Rentia van Tonder, head of power at Standard Bank.

“What we are seeing is that there is definitely a shift towards these innovative kinds of technologies,” she said. “There’s definitely a slowdown in large-scale projects… and we’re seeing among private investors that there’s definitely a shift towards smaller projects.”

At the lower end, those projects include solar home systems for rural communities, backed by private equity or venture capital money, which are taking power to bottom-of-the-pyramid consumers. Some are larger, ‘microgrid’ developments, serving larger communities or with an industrial user as the keystone client. 

“This trend is becoming more and more apparent. We realised that as a bank we have to be more proactive in trying to unlock and understand how we can play a role, following this technology shift.”

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