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First Universal Energy Facility-funded mini-grid in Sierra Leone begins powering 1,300 people with clean energy



On June 7th, 2024, Borup became the first town in Sierra Leone to be electrified with clean energy backed by Sustainable Energy for All's (SEforALL) results-based financing (RBF) multi-donor fund, the Universal Energy Facility (UEF). This achievement is the culmination of seven months of intensive work carried out by UEF grantee Energicity (SL) Limited (Power Leone).

The 27 kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) and 85kWh battery mini-grid will provide 150 electricity connections and will directly benefit 1,300 people, powering households, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and public institutions.

“This is a big achievement not only for the Universal Energy Facility and Energicity (Power Leone), but for Sierra Leone as well. It would not be possible without the support of the Government of Sierra Leone and our partners,” said Anita Otubu, Senior Director of the UEF. “The UEF is proving that it is a flexible mechanism able to rapidly adapt to challenges posed in each market, such as macroeconomic disruptions. This is the first of many more mini-grids we are constructing at record speed.”  

The mini-grid was officially commissioned during an event attended by Emmanuel Mannah, Director General of the Electricity & Water Regulatory Commission; Benjamin Kamara, Chief Director Energy, Ministry of Energy; Ambassador Umaru Bon Wurie, Resident Minister North West; Pa Komrabai. L. Kabia, Paramount Chief, Port Loko Chief; Emmanuel Junisa, Deputy Secretary (representing the Permanent Secretary), Ministry of Energy; Hon. Kerura Vandi, Chairman, Energy Committee Parliament; Ngozi Beckley-Lines, SEforALL’s Country Manager for Sierra Leone; Femi Coker, Director, Energicity; and representatives from the private sector and the local community.

Sierra Leone faces a major hurdle in electricity access, with only 36% of the population connected nationwide, dropping even lower to 5% in rural areas. Recognizing this critical gap, the Government has set a bold target: achieving nearly 92% universal electrification by 2030. To bridge this divide quickly, they are working on implementing electrified mini-grid systems, a potentially transformative solution for rural communities.

“SEforALL is committed to ensuring universal access to sustainable energy, enhancing energy efficiency, and increasing the use of renewable energy. Our initiatives are geared towards achieving these goals in Sierra Leone through a range of targeted programmes and partnerships focused mainly on rural and underserved communities. We are committed to fostering sustainable development and ensuring access to modern, reliable, affordable energy. We will leave no one behind,’’ said Ngozi Beckley-Lines, Country Manager for Sierra Leone at SEforALL.

Since the launch of the UEF mini-grid programme in Sierra Leone, the UEF has approved funding for the construction of 7 mini-grids, which are expected to generate nearly 1,200 connections and transform the lives of over 10,000 people in households, businesses, religious and academic institutions, clinics, entertainment centres, etc. This is a major boost for the socio-economic and human development of the communities benefited.

"This is more than just delivering solar power; it's about empowering entire communities. With our community-scale mini-grid solution, residents now have access to the electricity they need to run businesses, improve their lives, and reach their full potential.” said Nicole Poindexter, CEO and Founder of Energicity. “This project would not have been possible without the unwavering commitment of our partners, including the Government of Sierra Leone and SEforALL/UEF. Together, we are making a real difference. Access to clean, reliable energy unlocks economic opportunities, fosters sustainable development, and shapes a brighter future for Sierra Leone."

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Energicity (Power Leon) coworker overseeing the proper functioning of the solar and battery inverters.


The upcoming mini-grids are being constructed in Kalangba and Kasiri; their completion is expected later this year. The communities of Pepel, Njala Mosongo, Kalangba, Njala Mokonde, and Mokanji are expected to be connected later.

Additionally, the UEF issued conditional letters of support for constructing 10 more mini-grids, which could bring clean energy to over 20,000 people. The entire portfolio of 17 mini-grids is expected to be fully operational by 2025.

The Universal Energy Facility (UEF) was established to significantly speed up and scale up energy access across Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond, in line with SDG7 and the Paris Agreement. The UEF provides incentive payments to eligible organisations deploying energy solutions and providing verified end-user electricity connections (including mini-grids and stand-alone solar systems) and clean cooking solutions based on pre-determined standards. The facility is managed by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and supported by the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Shell Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund, Africa Mini-grid Developers Association, Power Africa, Good Energies, UKaid, Carbon Trust, IKEA Foundation, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany (BMZ) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).