Prize-winning SEFA-financed JUMEME rural electrification project in Tanzania begins operations

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JUMEME Rural Power Supply Ltd. (JUMEME) has just celebrated the operational launch of its project, which will bring solar hybrid mini-grids to electrify more than 100,000 people and 2,340 small businesses in Tanzania’s rural centres. This project has received preparation support from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), and is one of the first of its portfolio to become operational since the Fund’s inception in 2012.

A joint venture between experienced partners, JUMEME was formed to develop and implement a large portfolio of solar-hybrid mini-grids in rural growth centres in Tanzania. With an extensive pipeline of projects, the initial phase, scheduled to run until 2017, includes approximately 28 mini-grids with a strong focus on supplying anchor customers such as the telecom Industry, mines and small businesses. The project is co-financed by the European Union Energy Facility. The joint venture is expected to help increase Tanzania’s rural electrification rate, which was estimated to be about 21% in Tanzania at the end of 2014.

Managing Director of TerraProjects Renewable Energy, Leo Schiefermueller, one of the four partners of the project, said, “This power system is the first project of many that JUMEME will be implementing in the coming years across Tanzania. It showcases the positive social, economic and environmental impact of sustainable electricity supply, based on a business model that provides development opportunities for rural citizens and fair returns for private investors.”

The pilot project in Bwisya Village, Mwanza Region, is carried out in two phases. Phase I consists of the installation of a mini-grid of 7 kilometre 400 volt low-voltage lines, a 60 kWp solar PV system, a 240 kWh (C10) battery bank, 54 kW bidirectional battery inverters and a 33 kVA diesel generator. A total of 250 domestic, commercial and small industrial clients in the centre of the village will be connected to the system within the next three months. During Phase II in the second half of 2016, the power station capacity will be increased to 380 kW and a medium voltage line will connect six additional villages on Ukara Island.

“The inauguration and roll-out of JUMEME in Tanzania is a testimony that such innovative projects can become a reality with the right partners and support,” said SEFA Coordinator, Joao Duarte Cunha. “SEFA is working to enable more projects like this one across the continent.” In September 2015, SEFA was awarded “Power Transaction of the Year” by the East African Power Industry for its role in financing JUMEME.

By 2022, JUMEME aims to implement around 300 mini-grids and supply high-quality and reliable electricity to 1 million customers across Tanzania. JUMEME partners include INENSUS, TerraProjects, St. Augustine University of Tanzania, and RP Global. -----------------------------------------------------About SEFA: Launched in 2012, SEFA is a US $95-million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. It supports the sustainable energy agenda in Africa through grants to facilitate the preparation of medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects; equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small- and medium-scale renewable energy generation projects; and support to the public sector to improve the enabling environment for private investments in sustainable energy. SEFA is hosted by the Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department of the AfDB.