The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board approved EarthSpark's project "Scaling Smart, Solar, Energy Access Microgrids in Haiti" at the B.25 GCF Board meeting held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 10-12 March 2020. To implement the project, EarthSpark has partnered with the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) which holds 'Accredited Entity' status with the GCF. The project will scale-up EarthSpark's solar-powered smart microgrid model to bring electricity to dozens more towns in rural Haiti.
The board approval is the result of over 3 years of EarthSpark's work towards this funding. It's a piece of a bigger, still-in-formation blended finance package that will bring individual donations, institutional grant funding, social impact investment, Haitian government support, and concessionary debt from development finance institutions together to cost-effectively expand clean, reliable electricity service in Haiti.
"For over 10 years, EarthSpark has been 'proving what is possible' for clean energy in Haiti and building the foundations for successful microgrids. We're thrilled to have found such a strong partner in NEFCO to help our team now scale up to bring clean, reliable electricity to many more towns," said Allison Archambault, President of EarthSpark. "The GCF funding will be transformative."
In October, GCF's independent Technical Advisory Panel assessed the project to have high impact across all six investment criteria. The project will expand on EarthSpark's two existing and successfully operating solar-powered minigrids with an additional 22 fully solar-powered mini-grids in rural areas of Haiti. In addition to the hard costs of infrastructure, the project includes strong livelihood support and gender components, building on EarthSpark's already successfully applied "Feminist Electrification" methodology for which EarthSpark won the international UNFCCC Momentum for Change award in 2018.
NEFCO will administer the Green Climate Fund's $9.9 million composed of a grant of $1.4 million and a subordinated loan of $8.5 million. The GCF financing, in turn, is expected to be catalytic in securing an impact equity investment of $1.3 million, co-financing of $8 million from results-based grants and debt from senior lenders totaling $23.6 million. This combined with EarthSpark's contribution of its own grid and operational assets, valued at $3 million, will finance the total capital investment of $45.8 million.
Ash Sharma, who led the transaction at NEFCO, stated, "Working with GCF's Private Sector Facility and our partners at EarthSpark, we aim to bring clean, reliable and affordable energy to 84,000 Haitians in the south of the country, mostly customers at the base of the pyramid, by installing 5.8 megawatts [of solar] across 22 mini-grids. These will generate climate change mitigation benefits of 10,700 tonnes CO2 emissions per annum." (See the NEFCO press release here.)