• West Africa
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Case study 9 August, 2022 Solar PV Agriculture Micro/Mini-grid

GDS International – Innovative Rural Electrification Microgrid (Benin)

Who, What & Where

  • GDS International
  • Innovative rural electrification microgrid with 1.7 – 3 MW capacity
  • Alibori, Atacora, Collines and Borgou, Benin

The Company

Generale du Solaire is a solar project developer and an Independent Power Producer active in Europe, Africa and Middle East. We develop, finance, build and operate large-scale ground mounted solar farms, industrial solar rooftops and off-grid solar systems. GDS International is the entity of the Generale du Solaire group dedicated to international projects.

The Challenge

Currently, the electricity supply is limited to solar bulbs, few solar panels and in rare cases, shared diesel generators which don’t account for the basic needs of the population. Indeed, only 17% of the population has access to electricity in the rural areas of Benin, according to the World Bank

Renewable Solution

GDS International’s decentralised renewable energy (DRE) mini-grid project will address the electricity needs of domestic households, public infrastructure, commercial, and productive users.

Project Financing and Costs

The total cost of the project is estimated to be <10 million EUR. The project is part of the OCEF (Off-Grid Clean Energy Facility) program and benefits from result-based grant funding corresponding to around 50% of the initial investment.

Project Outcome

The system has been designed to meet the 10-year energy needs of nearly 3,800 households, 1 600 productive activities and 70 community infrastructures. The production capacity will be increased, as needed, to keep pace with consumption until year 20 and serve more than 6,000 households, 2,400 productive activities and 100 community infrastructures.

Next Steps

The project’s goal goes beyond energy access by promoting local economic development, notably through productive electrical services. More than 100 people will be employed during the construction phase and as many during the operation phase, more than half of whom will be women. Quality of service and customer satisfaction are at the heart of the project’s approach. Surveys will be conducted throughout the life of the project to assess customer feedback and, as necessary, enhance practices.