(Business in Cameroon) - On March 24, 2021, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced that it would provide $932,945 (XAF518.3 million) to fund the feasibility study of a project to connect more than 100,000 households to solar mini-grids in rural Cameroon.
According to the U.S. agency, the project is based on an innovative battery storage solution. Renewable Energy Innovators Cameroon (REIc), the Cameroonian organization supported by USTDA, is working on the project in partnership with SimpliPhi Power, a California-based provider of energy storage systems.
In the framework of the project, which is the first to be funded by the USTDA in Cameroon, SimpliPhi Power will carry out the feasibility study in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), part of the U.S. Department of Energy, and Virginia-based Morua Power. The study will also include the design and monitoring of a mini-grid pilot project.
"We are proud that U.S. companies are participating in the development of new solutions to meet Cameroon's energy needs. Such a partnership creates synergy for agile, sustainable, and locally relevant results. This action is just one of the many ways the U.S. is working to support Cameroon's prosperity, security, and development," said Vernelle Trim Fitz Patrick, Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon.
According to Jude Numfor, REIc's executive director, "after several years of extensive research and work on mini-grids in Cameroon, USTDA's support comes at a critical time" as it will help mature "plans to provide access to electricity to more than 760 villages in Cameroon in the coming years."
"As a U.S. manufacturer in the project's specialty area and a leader in sustainable energy storage technology, we believe that access to clean, affordable energy is fundamental to economic growth, social equity, and environmental responsibility. We look forward to supporting REIc in driving this rural electrification initiative in Cameroon," said Jesse Gerstin, SimpliPhi Power's director of sustainable business development.
According to official figures, only 27% of Cameroonian households have access to electricity. Meanwhile, over 60% of households have no access to electricity. This phenomenon is more pronounced in rural areas where 70% of households have no access to electricity.
Let’s note that the USTDA currently has a global portfolio of mini-grid projects that deploy innovative made-in-America solutions.