DECENTRALISED ENERGY DEVELOPER – VIRTUS REACHES FINANCIAL CLOSE ON LOAN FACILITY FROM STERLING BANK TO POWER MARKETS UNDER THE FGNs ENERGIZING ECONOMIES INITIATIVE (EEI)
Monday 22nd July 2019
Abuja, Nigeria – The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Rural Electrification Agency, is implementing the Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI) which supports the rapid deployment of off grid electricity solutions to provide clean, safe, affordable and reliable electricity to economic clusters (e.g., market places, shopping centres, industrial facilities) through private sector developers. EEI which is fully funded by private sector developers aims to provide electricity access to over 80,000 shops across 16 economic clusters, empower over 340,000 micro, small and medium size enterprises, create over 2,500 jobs while serving over 18 million Nigerians. “This is a significant milestone in the financing of the Energizing Economies Initiative. Since the deployment of off grid electricity solutions at various markets across the country, we are already witnessing positive environmental and economic impacts. This is the sort of intervention we look forward to scaling across Nigeria with support from financial institutions.” Said the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Rural Electrification Agency, Damilola Ogunbiyi
The REA worked in collaboration with the USAID sponsored programme, Power Africa. Power Africa provides technical advisory support to this initiative, which is already transforming businesses in Sabon Gari market, Ariara market, Sura shopping complex and other economic clusters with sustainable, clean and affordable power supply by increasing economic activities, spurring business growth, fostering job creation and enhancing the business experience. “Technical advisory is a key pillar of assistance Power Africa provides to Nigeria’s power sector. We are focused on ensuring initiatives like the Energizing Economies are designed and implemented with regulatory, legal, financial, transactional and project management support.” Said the USAID/Nigeria Mission Director, Stephen Haykin
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as part of its wider mandate towards ensuring economic development, productivity, macro-economic stability and economic diversification has shown commitment towards ensuring the successful implementation of the EEI. Unwavering support has been secured at the Bankers Committee level to support the proliferation of decentralised energy solutions.
On its part, Sterling Bank has been an industry leader in financing off-grid energy solutions through its multi-pronged approach aimed at ensuring the delivery of projects that provide electricity to communities and businesses and has extended a five (5) year facility worth N446m to Virtus for the deployment of distributed energy solutions across selected economic clusters in Nigeria. “At Sterling we believe that the answer to power generation is a multiplicity of options and we want to be at the forefront of the commercialization of renewable energy. Our involvement in the Virtus transaction which provides N446 million in development financing demonstrates our commitment to improving the capacity of off grid private sector developers for power generation. We hope that this paves the way for more financing to the sector.” Said the Managing Director, Sterling Bank, Abubakar Suleiman
Virtus, a highly experienced decentralised energy consortium, sponsored by Rensource distributed energy and Solad, has a highly diversified cashflow stream from multiple markets. Virtus also has a strong team that spans Hybrid Power Technologies, Project Management and Execution, Finance and Digital technology and payments to ensure successful implementation of the projects. With the closing of this transaction, Virtus aims to deploy High Capacity Solar Systems to expand their coverage. ‘’This is indeed a significant achievement for Virtus that will further facilitate development financing in the renewable energy sector. It was only possible because government and the private sector collaborated to address financing challenges for off grid projects.’’ Said the Managing Director, Rensource, Ademola Adesina
The Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA) is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) tasked with electrification of unserved and underserved communities. The EEI is a FGN initiative implemented by the REA that aims to support the rapid deployment of off grid electricity solutions to Micro, Small, Medium Enterprise (MSMEs) in economic clusters, through private sector developers. The FGN launched the initiative in September 2017 as part of its wider MSMEs programme. The main objective of the EEI is to increase energy access and economic growth by providing clean, reliable and affordable power to economic clusters across Nigeria; such as markets, shopping complexes and agricultural/industrial clusters; thus promoting efficient, clean, safe, cheaper and sustainable power to catchment areas that have high growth impact on the economy.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the Central bank and apex monetary authority of Nigeria. The major regulatory objectives of the bank as stated in the CBN Act include promoting monetary stability and a sound financial environment that will propagate and sustain economic growth. The role of MSMEs in enhancing economic growth and development has been widely acknowledged globally. Being mindful of the greatest challenges confronting MSMEs as access to credit and stable affordable power supply, the CBN has embarked on measures aimed at unlocking Nigeria’s growth potential, of which access to funding is essential. Providing affordable financing to support the provision of clean, reliable and affordable electricity is essential towards the development of MSMEs that constitute the center piece of FGNs Economic Recovery and Growth Plan. The CBN has facilitated engagement between REA and the Bankers Committee, that has indicated some potential for raising funds for EEI developers. Through that engagement, commercial banks have pledged over N10billion in funding to frontrunner developers under the EEI for both Phase 0 and Phase 1 projects at no more than 17%.
ABOUT STERLING BANK
Sterling Bank Plc is a full service national commercial bank licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria. In over 50 years of operations, it has evolved from the nation’s pre-eminent investment banking institution to a fully-fledged commercial bank. Sterling Bank is playing a prominent role in ensuring that Nigeria’s is not left behind in the adoption of alternative sources of energy that will accentuate existing supply capabilities from on-grid power sources, boost growth further and reduce environmental pollution. This is part of the Banks commitment to growing and improving businesses in Nigeria by reducing their cost of power while ensuring constant supply.
Virtus Energy Solutions Limited is an Asset Holding Company sponsored by Rensource Distributed Energy Limited and Solad Holdings Limited. The company is implementing the Decentralized Energy Programme using high capacity stand-alone solar technology. Rensource have successfully implementation of the first phase of Sabon Gari Market, while construction is ongoing in 6 other markets – Iponri – Lagos, Edaiken – Edo, NEPA 1, NEPA 2, Isikan – Ondo, and Ita Osun – Ogun. Additionally, planning is well underway to power – Kantin Kwari – Kano, Gbagi – Oyo and Eriwe Fish farm – Ogun. Solad on the other hand, have successfully powered Sura Shopping complex with 1047 shops, by connecting to island Power Plant, an existing power plant in Marina, while planning to power Ijora and Alaba markets in Lagos.
ABOUT POWER AFRICA
The Nigeria Power Sector Program (NPSP) is Power Africa’s signature program in Nigeria, and supports comprehensive power sector reform, a strengthened enabling environment, and increased private sector investment as critical pillars to improving Nigeria’s access to affordable, reliable power. The program is aimed at adding 10,000MW to the grid and getting 3million connections in the off-grid sector. The project employs a flexible approach to develop, deploy, evaluate, and sustain a variety of interventions and activities responding to Nigeria’s critical needs and the broader economic, political, and social developments of the power sector throughout the next five years. NPSP represents the US Government and USAID’s commitment to energy sector reform in Nigeria and has dedicated significant resources to support REA deliver on its mandate of improving energy access to unserved and underserved communities to its various off-grid initiatives.
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