Solar Revolving Fund targets to finance 400 off-grid households

The Executive Director of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Bryan Eiseb, has announced that the Solar Revolving Fund (SRF) aims to finance 400 off-grid households during the current financial year.

Eiseb made the announcement on Wednesday during the launch of the service level agreement between the ministry and the Northern Regional Electricity Distributor (NORED) at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair.

He said for this objective to be achieved, the ministry has established strategic alliances with various Regional Electricity Distributors that allows consumers living in known areas to make use of available financing program and subsidy, to enable them to have access to electricity by connecting to the grid.

While further announcing that Solar Revolving Fund offers subsidised loans to Namibian citizens at an interest rate of five percent per annum over a five-year period. Moreover, grid connections are financed at a maximum loan amount of N$150 000.00, and the revolving element of loans financed through the Solar Revolving Fund is to ensure more people benefit from the Fund.

“According to the Namibia household national data of 2016, there are 235,884 rural households, of which only 35,855 households are connected to the grid, while 18,324 rural households have access to solar energy, giving a rural electrification rate estimation of 20 percent. Furthermore, the statistics show that over 80 percent of rural households use woods for cooking and over 50 percent of rural households use battery lamps, flashlight or cellphones for lighting, with 10 percent using candles,” he said.

He added that Vision 2030 envisions the provision of secure and affordable energy to support economic development and improve the quality of life for peri-urban and rural communities to achieve national development goals while subscribing to the principle of sustainable development. This means that electrification efforts must be systemically extended to all regions of Namibia to ensure access to modern energy services for all communities, businesses and industrial enterprises in the most expeditious manner possible.

“Permit me to draw your attention to the Harambee Prosperity Plan Two, which amongst others aims to electrify about 6,000 rural and 13,000 peri-urban households. Therefore, this financing mechanism aims to contribute toward achieving the energy goal of secure and cost-effective energy supply,” explained Eiseb.

He concluded that electricity is a key input of production, and as such, limited access compromises the socio-economic development of rural communities. Hence The Ministry of Mines and Energy through the Solar Revolving Fund will continue to roll out the grid-connection financing mechanism to all the Regional Electricity Distributors to accelerate the expansion of grid electrification throughout the country.