Press release: DFID and Nova-Lumos Partner to Power Northern Nigeria
Abuja –Nova-Lumos, an off-grid electricity provider, has been awarded a grant of£150,000 GBP from the SolarNigeria Programme (SNP), an initiative of the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), implemented by Adam Smith International. The grant enables Nova-Lumos to accelerate its operations in northern Nigeria and increase power access to the 90 million Nigerians who currently live without connection to the electric grid.
The Nova-Lumos system provides the home with a solar panel linked to an indoor connections unit, allowing customers to access significant amounts of power on demand, day or night. With mobile payments, users transfer small amounts via SMS for the affordable, pay-as-you-go system. The Nova-Lumos model is highly scalable, in large part due to its partnership with MTN, Nigeria’s largest cellular provider, which enables the service to expand across all parts of Nigeria.
This SolarNigeria grant, complements the recent $15m financing the company secured from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s Development Finance Institution, which is being used to fund the deployment of over 75,000 systems across Nigeria in 2016. The Nova-Lumos finance constitutes the largest OPIC investment to the off-grid power sector in Africa.
“Millions of Nigerian households could today save money while enjoying bright light and clean power using solar instead of kerosene lanterns and small generators. So why do they not already use it? They need someone trustworthy to make quality solar products available to them in their village, and they need to be able to pay for it over time. This requires capable companies to invest in the market, to reach the customers, and to enable financing,” said Leigh Vial, head of consumer markets for SolarNigeria.
“We are grateful for the grant from SolarNigeria and excited about this relationship with DFID, which will enable us to accelerate our growth in northern Nigeria and improve millions of lives.” said David Vortman, CEO and Co-Founder at Nova-Lumos. “Backing from an institution such as DFID provides a vote of confidence in Nova-Lumos’s innovative technology and our unique business model,” he added. “We look forward to expanding our impact in Nigeria and elsewhere on the continent.”
Nova-Lumos is the world’s first distributed utility provider, bringing affordable, modern and clean electricity to communities that have been living off the grid. Nova-Lumos connects the dots between the mobile payment revolution and solar energy, through its patented, self-deployable energy system, with integrated cellular payment and advanced security mechanisms. With Nova-Lumos, households can replace kerosene and candles with modern electricity that can that can safely power lights, cellphones, fans, computers, TVs and other small electronic devices (all at once, every day), and all for the same cost spent today on kerosene on a lease-to-own basis, purchased via SMS payments.
The SolarNigeria Programme, a DFID-funded programme implemented by Adam Smith International, is designed to address the key barriers to scaling the off grid solar market in Nigeria. A key challenge to market growth is that while solar can provide cheaper power than diesel and kerosene, most of the cost must be paid at the outset. Overcoming this capital cost requires financing terms that are simply not available to most users. Access to finance has been a key factor in all solar markets that have scaled. SolarNigeria and DFID are working to mobilise finance across the supply chain for off-grid solar in Nigeria. To achieve this they are supporting the International Finance Corporation, Nigerian banks and micro-banks, and solar companies with grants and technical assistance.
On April 11, SolarNigeria was honoured to receive the 'Outstanding International Development Project' award at the British Expertise International Awards 2016. On April 12 SolarNigeria also received the Sustainable Energy Africa Award in the Energy Project category from the Nigeria Energy Forum.
The UK’s Energy Africa access campaign, launched on 22 October 2015 by former Minister of State for International Development Grant Shapps, aims to achieve universal energy access across Africa by 2030. It will do this by removing policy and regulatory barriers to market expansion, and better co-ordinating donor support to the sector as a whole. Seven African countries have already signed up to the campaign: Ethiopia Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Somalia. Discussions are progressing with more countries.