Loans of $41m were today announced for renewable energy projects in six developing countries by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

It’s the first wave of concessional loans handed out by the IRENA/ADFD partnership and the six recipients were chosen by an advisory panel head by IRENA member and Polish under-secretary of state for the economy, Ilona Antoniszyn-Klik (pictured).

The winning projects are in Ecuador, Mali, the Maldives, Mauritania, Samoa and Sierra Leone and involve hydro, wind, solar and biomass technology.

At a press conference in Abu Dhabi today, IRENA director-general Adnan Amin said the projects were all “shovel-ready to go” and would “bring power to isolated off-grid populations, in some cases for the first time”.

“This will stimulate local economic development and raise living standards.”

He added: “Financing is one of the key issues renewable energy is facing, particularly in the developing world.”

He said IRENA and the ADFD had teamed up to “de-risk investments in promising renewable projects”.

Antoniszyn-Klik said the six projects “represent both a geographic spread and a mix of renewable technologies” and added that the first loans proved that “we are not making theories, we are making history”.

The UAE has committed $350m in concessional loans through ADFD to support the deployment of renewables in developing countries and there are a further six loan cycles planned.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD director-general, said: “We aim to help communities in developing countries achieve the highest levels of progress. We hope to be a partner and strong contributor in achieving sustainable development through offering concessional loans and administering government grants to finance development projects that affect vital sectors including renewable energy – an important pillar to achieving sustainable development.”

The six loans comprise $5m for a 3MW small hydro project in Ecuador; $6m for a 2 MW water-to-energy initiative in the Maldives; $9m for a 4 MW solar PV/diesel hybrid mini-grid system in rural Mali; $5m for wind projects in Mauritania; $7m for biomass and biodiesel projects in Samoa; and $9m for a 6 MW grid-connected solar PV project in Sierra Leone.