Congo, Gridworks Sign $100 Million Solar-Hybrid Power Deal

The Democratic Republic of Congo signed agreements with a consortium headed by Gridworks Development Partners LLP to spend $100 million building and operating three off-grid solar-hybrid electricity facilities.

The deal concluded by Congo’s Ministry of Hydraulics Resources and Electricity seeks to bring power to about 500,000 people in three cities in the north of the African country, according to an emailed statement from the group on Thursday. The cities -– Gemena, Bumba and Isiro -– aren’t currently connected to the national grid.

Congo has one of the lowest electrification rates in the world, with less than 10% of the population having access to reliable power.

Gridworks, which is wholly owned by the U.K. government’s CDC Group, AEE Power Holdings Sarl and Eranove SA plan an initial investment of $100 million, which is covered by concessions lasting 22 years, according to the statement. The partners are in discussions with the African Development Bank and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund about raising debt to part finance the project.

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