Camco – Solar Home Systems to Boost Local Rural Economies (Cameroon)
Who, What & Where
- Camco Clean Energy
- Solar Home Systems to Boost Local Rural Economies
- Various sites, Cameroon
Camco is a specialist fund manager focused on renewable energy, climate finance and impact in emerging markets. We offer elegant and practical financing solutions to lead the clean energy transition, pairing the conscience of a development bank with the agility of a small private company. Camco manages REPP and in November 2020 was approved to become an Accredited Entity of the Green Climate Fund. The company has offices in Accra, Helsinki, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi and Toronto.
Around 40% of Cameroon’s population currently lives without access to electricity. In rural areas, comprising 42% of the country’s population, only one in five households has access to the national electricity grid, despite the high penetration of mobile technologies that are dependent on electricity.
With extension of the national grid being both costly and time-consuming to large parts of the population, access to power remains a major hurdle for households, businesses and essential services, which affects socio-economic development in the country and the achievement of national sustainable development goals.
upOwa provides reliable and cost-effective electricity through SHS. SHS allow end users to utilise DRE for essential services, such as lighting, cell phone charging, access to media (radio, TV, internet), healthcare and education, as well as for extending operating business hours in rural areas. By employing a service-based pay-as-you-go model, customers are not burdened by the relatively high upfront cost of the systems, and are able to pay over time.
In addition, with REPP’s assistance, upOwa has established a Gender Action Plan to mainstream gender into their operations and increase the number of female customers.
Project Financing and Costs
- Camco Clean Energy, as the investment manager of the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) (project financing).
- Agence de la Transition Ecologique (ADEME); BPI France; COLAM
- Impact; EDFI ElectriFI; Energise Africa; Gaia Impact Fund; Lendahand; LITA; Power Africa; INCO, ANAXAGO; Persistent; Camco-managed (REPP) (project financing)
- upOwa (project development & implementation)
- 4,269 tonnes of CO2e avoided, contributing to the implementation of target of reducing GHG emissions by 35.5% (of which 11.2% is expected to come from the energy sector).
- To date, 24,715 SHS installed across two central regions in Cameroon, providing 117,455 people with first-time access to electricity with an expected 900,000 to be connected by 2023.
- 758 micro businesses and 211 essential services including schools, and water-pumping stations connected, strengthening the resilience of low-income populations.
- Reliable electricity provided to health care facilities was essential to face COVID-19. The increased electric capacity allowed vaccines to be stored and supported medical machines essential to treat patients in respiratory distress due to the virus.
- Reliable electricity was key to education during COVID-19 lockdown allowing students and teachers to stay connected.
- The DRE solution supported the economy by allowing remote work.
- Reduced electricity costs allowed people to invest their money elsewhere.
Key Recommendations for International Funding Partners & Regulators
- Provide flexible investment and patient capital for innovative business models.
- Provide technical assistance and capacity building for investees to identify and manage environmental and social risks, further business development and scale up their operations.
Governments and development partners:
- Design tailored subsidy programmes to improve affordability of low-income populations and ensure equitable coverage, taking into account the logistical costs in the hard-to-reach areas.
- Incentivise gender equality and diversity through results-based finance.
- Ensure that DRE is part of national electrification policies and strategies, thus sending a clear signal to the private sector.
- Facilitate transparent, efficient and predictable customs and tax application processes, tailored to the DRE sector.