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Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay

A new alliance formed between European renewable energy developer Statkraft and international development charity SolarAid aims to curb energy poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Statkraft will donate up to £2 million ($2.7 million) in cash and equipment over the next three years to support SolarAid’s operations. The donations will be directed to providing clean, safe and simple solar lighting to ensure that by 2030 no home, school or clinic is energy-poverty stricken in the Sub-Saharan African region.

Today, a total of 548 million in Sub-Saharan Africa are living in energy poverty with the number expected to increase to 630 million since 2013 as economic recovery continue to slow down in the region. The donation made to SolarAid follows Statkraft acquiring Solarcentury, a renewable energy company and founder of SolarAid. The donation also forms efforts by Statkraft to support progress to reach the 7th UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” and to combat climate change.

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The donations will target regions or households that are currently relying on expensive, dangerous, and toxic lighting sources such as candles and kerosene. Health care facilities will be able to benefit from the donation with healthcare workers being able to conduct life-threatening procedures in light and store vaccines such as those for COVID-19 in solar-powered fridges for safe administering.

Christian Rynning-Tønnesen, CEO of Statkraft, said: “Solar power is a simple and cost-effective solution for those who have no choice but to rely on expensive and toxic kerosene or dangerous candles. We are delighted to be working with a charity with such a critical mission. This partnership was sparked with the acquisition of Solarcentury in 2020, and we are happy to work with SolarAid to help ensure access to modern energy for all.”

John Keane, CEO of SolarAid, adds: “We’re delighted that our long and successful partnership will continue now that Solarcentury has merged into Statkraft. While grid electrification is not going to reach most of rural sub-Saharan Africa in our lifetimes, the solar light revolution is taking place right now, helping light up millions of homes, which would otherwise be kept in the dark. Together we can end the darkness.”