Case Study: Senegal

Rural electrification initiative

The mini-grids in this case study are implemented as Local Rural Electrification Initiatives (ERILs) under the Renewable Energy for Senegal (ERSEN) project, which is coordinated by the Rural Electrification Agency (ASER) and GIZ with financing from various donors. ASER has divided the country into 10 Priority Rural Electrification Programmes PREP with 10 large concessions allocated to national and international companies via a tender for a period of 25 yrs. Smaller off-grid projects under the Local Rural Electrification Initiatives (Electrification Rurale d’Initiative Locale, ERIL) are implemented by private companies, NGOs and communities themselves.

Hybrid Public/ Private Model

These mini-grids operate under a privately managed concession model, which results from a Rural Electrification Agency (ASER) mandate to meet the need of smaller electrification projects in rural areas.  The plants are owned by the government and licenced to private operators who have the right to operate and sell electricity produced at a regulated price. Private companies, communities, NGOs or donors apply to ASER for permission to implement a Local Rural Electrification Initiative (ERIL), and must show proof of sufficient financing including a 10% financial contribution to the operator company.  Once approval is obtained, the operator receives permission for construction and a 15-year operating lease on the equipment and site which remain property of the state.  In this model the project area was not scheduled to be electrified for a least three years from project commencement.  The tariffs are determined according to Senegal's Energy Regulator (CRSE) and allow for an internal rate of return of 15-25% assuming a project life of 15 years.

Solar PV Hybrid System

This system consists of 18 mini-grids, 16 of which are comprised of a 5 kWp PV array, a 10kVA backup generator and an 800Ah battery bank. All systems are AC-coupled to facilitate expansion and eventual grid connection. Two of the mini-grids deviate from this standard set-up: one additionally has a 5kW wind turbine, and the other has a larger 13.3kWp PV array without a backup generator. The mini-grids supply 18-24 hours per day of electricity to households, businesses and social institutions, none of which were previously electrified. The mini-grids supply an average of 30 clients each.