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How Energy Web and ENGIE Energy Access leverage crypto to expand solar energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa

New crowdfunding platform will provide low-cost finance for clean energy projects in Africa — and Energy Web Token holders can take part

Zug, Switzerland — 27 April 2022 — This month, Energy Web will launch Crowdfund for Solar alongside ENGIE Energy Access, a new staking platform that will allow Energy Web Token (EWT) holders to support the installation of solar energy infrastructure for energy-deficient communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Get involved
The link to the staking platform is live here! Find the tutorial on how to stake your Energy Web Tokens through the Crowdfund4Solar platform.

The energy challenge in Africa
Africa has an abundant solar resource — yet many regions of the continent, particularly remote and rural areas, lack adequate electrification. Around 621 million people in Africa, or two-thirds of the population, currently have no access to electricity.

While solar energy naturally forms a part of the solution here, given its nature as a distributed energy resource that can operate independently of a centralised power grid, there is a barrier to uptake in balancing the need for affordability with creating the most high-quality, durable and long-lasting solar solutions.

This partnership has the potential to open up access to clean energy to many more communities in Africa because it increases the affordability of top-quality solar devices. Through the decrease in financing costs that this crowdfunding will create, ENGIE Energy Access can increase the number of lives it impacts — supporting communities to sustainably move from dangerous and dirty energy sources such as kerosene to clean, reliable energy.

How is Energy Web helping?
We’re working with ENGIE Energy Access to launch Crowdfund for Solar, a new platform that will provide low-cost finance for the deployment of solar home systems (SHS) to communities across Africa. ENGIE Energy Access is the leading provider of solar and mini-grid solutions in Africa, and has already delivered renewable energy to 7 million people across 9 countries to date. It is also one of the founding members of the Energy Web Foundation, making ENGIE one of Energy Web’s longest-running partners.

Crowdfund for Solar, which Energy Web is building in partnership with ENGIE Energy Access and operating using Energy Web’s open-source technology stack, will allow participants to stake EWT in exchange for a fixed return. The crowdfunding will be launched on May 4th, 2022 for a two-week pilot period, with an investment target of USD $100,000. This target has been set to show proof-of-concept and will be scaled up if successful.

Investing the money raised from EWT stakers, ENGIE Energy Access will deploy its high-quality and expandable SHS to those in need of energy in countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. The initial stake funds the solar installation, which is then paid back under a lease-to-own model, paid for in affordable installments at a lower daily installment rate than would otherwise be possible.

Energy: an essential need
For energy-deficient households, schools, and small businesses in Africa, having access to accessible, low-cost energy solutions is transformative. It brings families out of the dark and into the light, with clean power to read and work in the evening and enjoy modern conveniences such as radios, TVs, and fans. It increases economic prosperity by providing productive use of appliances to start businesses. Solar energy is the clean and viable alternative to oil lamps and candles that damage health, pose a fire hazard, and are expensive to use in the long run.

ENGIE Energy Access will utilize the Crowdfund for Solar investment to deploy SHS in countries like Rwanda and Zambia, which exhibit particularly low electrification rates (at around 40%). In addition to working with the energy-deficient communities, Crowdfund for Solar will aim to prioritize women among the recipients, with the target of at least 30% of the loans going to women-led households. Once the pilot period finishes, a full report will be published on the outcome of the financing, with verification provided for the demographic target for the loans.

Get involved
The link to the staking platform is live here! Find the tutorial on how to stake your Energy Web Tokens through the Crowdfund4Solar platform.

By staking EWT, you will receive Solar Loan Tokens (SLTs) in exchange, a proof token that can be exchanged or transferred separately. In one year’s time, stakers will have the opportunity to exchange their SLT back for a 10% return on their investment, with the knowledge that they made a positive contribution to expanding access to clean energy.

This new platform is an exciting way to harness the power of decentralized finance to create a crucial impact in the world. Following this pilot period, Crowdfund for Solar has the potential to scale up and support ENGIE Energy Access in its vital mission to provide clean power to millions of more people throughout Africa.

So let’s get ready to stake EWT and contribute to equitable energy access!

You can read more about ENGIE Energy Access’ mission here.

About Energy Web
Energy Web is a global, member-driven non-profit accelerating the low-carbon, customer-centric energy transition by unleashing the potential of open-source, digital technologies. Our Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) enables any energy asset, owned by any customer, to participate in any energy market. The Energy Web Chain — the world’s first enterprise-grade, public blockchain tailored to the energy sector — anchors the EW-DOS tech stack. The Energy Web ecosystem comprises leading utilities, grid operators, renewable energy developers, corporate energy buyers, IoT / telecom leaders, and others.

About ENGIE Energy Access
ENGIE Energy Access is the leading Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGo) and mini-grids solutions provider in Africa. The company develops innovative, off-grid solar solutions for homes, public services, and businesses, enabling customers and distribution partners access to clean, affordable energy. The PAYGo solar home systems are financed through affordable installments from $0.19 per day, and the mini-grids foster economic development by enabling electrical productive use and triggering business opportunities for entrepreneurs in rural communities. With over 1,700 employees, operations in nine countries across Africa (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia), almost 1.5 million customers, and more than 7 million lives impacted so far, ENGIE Energy Access aims to remain the leading clean energy company, serving millions of customers across Africa by 2025.

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EW is a global, member-driven nonprofit accelerating a low-carbon electricity system through open-source, decentralized, digital technologies.