Universal Energy Facility: Mini-grids
Mini-grids provide quick and efficient means of connecting millions of households and businesses to clean, affordable and reliable electricity in hard-to-reach communities. The UEF provides incentive payments (i.e., grants) on a ‘results-based’ approach to eligible organizations that develop and operate mini-grid systems and provide verified electricity connections in selected countries.
The objectives of the UEF mini-grids programme include:
- Accelerate access to electricity for households, businesses and other productive uses across high-impact countries
- Unlock commercial capital for investment to scale mini-grids development
- Support the viability of mini-grid projects by bridging the affordability gap for customers
The UEF was launched in 2020 focusing on mini-grids deployment in Benin, Madagascar and Sierra Leone. This wave (Wave 1) is expected to deliver almost 14,000 electricity connections across the three countries, with more than USD 8 million in funding secured throughout 2020 and 2021, with an expected leverage of USD 20 million in debt and equity flowing to the incentivized mini-grids projects.
Open Application Windows
- Wave 2 of the mini-grids programme launched 27 September 2022 and will focus on supporting mini-grid projects in Madagascar and Sierra Leone. The deadline for application is 8 November.
- A new window of the mini-grids programme launched 27 October 2022 and will focus on supporting mini-grid projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The deadline for application is 9 December.
Interested applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Must be a for-profit company legally registered with established business operations in the Project Host Country with relevant business/trading license
- All Applicants must own and operate at least one existing operational mini-grid that meets technical standards as specified in the UEF Mini-grid Operating Manual.
- Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they have sufficient available financial resources to develop, construct, commission, and operate all mini-grid projects that they propose to the UEF.
- Applicants must provide evidence of compliance with financial reporting requirements, including audited financial accounts for the preceding two (2) financial years and most recent tax return, or tax compliance certificate no older than twelve (12) months.
- Must comply with UEF technical standards, environmental and social management systems, and gender mainstreaming.
The UEF will disburse grant payments to approved mini-grid projects based on a results-based incentive of USD 592 per electricity connection.
The grant disbursement is made once the UEF Programme Manager verifies deployments and connections, and final approval is granted by the UEF. Grantees are required to comply with the UEF quality and service standards requirements and provide support to the UEF in remote verification process as well as arranging verification visits by the Independent Verification Agents.
How to Apply
The UEF’s administrative processes take place through a secure, web-based IT platform (the “UEF Platform”) that enables transparent application processing, project monitoring, remote connection verification and data aggregation. The UEF will launch a Call for Pre-qualification Application during a specific time frame to short-list eligible, pre-qualified companies. Thereafter, the UEF will release the Project Application Collection announcements (Site-specific stage) for the pre-qualified companies to apply for a grant for their project.
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The mini-grid emissions tool was originally designed to calculate the climatic impact of the Universal Energy Facility (UEF). It helps the sector better estimate emissions avoided by taking into consideration different previous energy sources to calculate the baseline emissions, energy consumed by the mini-grid customers as well as different mini-grid generating sources including hybrid mini-grids.Explore the tool