Government boosts funding for African solar project

Jessica Shankleman

SolarAid confirms Department for International Development funding, as Macquarie Capital and Low Carbon fund £29m in new solar projects

A charity formed out of a UK solar firm has secured fresh government funding that will double the value of the donations it receives, bolstering plans to accelerate the deployment of solar lighting technology across Africa.

SolarAid, which was spun out of solar installer Solarcentury, aims to eradicate the carbon intensive kerosene lamp from Africa by 2020 by distributing solar lights that combine solar cells and highly efficient lamps to provide zero emissions lighting for rural communities.

The charity has now secured funding from the Department for International Development (DfID) of £1 for every £1 that it raises from individuals over three months starting on 1 December and ending on 1 March.

The charity will also this evening be awarded the EUROSOLAR European Solar Prize 2013, which aims to highlight organisations that are taking innovative and pioneering action in promoting the widespread use of solar energy.

In related news, Macquarie Capital and renewable energy investment firm Low Carbon have teamed up to provide £29m of funding for three ground mounted PV projects in Wales and Cornwall that could create a total of 25.7MWp of new capacity.

The investors confirmed the funding plans yesterday, marking the first phase of a broader project to jointly finance 300MW of solar projects in the UK.

"Low Carbon aim to direct investment into projects that not only provide returns to investors, but also offer a sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuels," said John Cole, chief investment officer at Low Carbon. "We have a pipeline of future projects under development and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with Macquarie Capital with the aim of making an impact on climate change."

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