EU commits $2.5m to micro-utility Sigora Haiti

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This article was originally published at NEW ENERGY EVENTS


The European Commission‘s electrification financing initiative, ElectriFI, has made its first investment of US$2.5 million in clean energy micro-utility Sigora Haiti, supplying households, schools and small firms with electricity.

ElectriFI received 290 proposals in response to its first call for investment in April 2016 before passing management of the €75 million fund on to the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) and its new EDFI Management Company (EDFIMC).

The financing of Sigora Haiti, which is owned by San Francisco-based Sigora International, will be used to support phase one of Sigora Haiti’s Northwest electrification project. This phase will expand the company’s existing pilot grid network from 5,000 customers to 136,000 (or 27,000 consumer accounts). It will have a renewable energy capacity of 3.5 Mega-Watt peak (MWp). Sigora’s smart grid technology allows the micro-utility to remotely monitor and control grid performance and capture consumer payments electronically, side-stepping traditional challenges of keeping micro-grids working reliably and profitably.

Andy Bogdan Bindea, CEO of Sigora International, said: “There is a significant lack of funds available for the scaling stage of capital intensive electrification operations. ElectriFI has been able to bring funds to market that address that lack, filling the gap between seed stage and project finance stage and doing so rigorously yet maintaining the flexibility scaling stage operations require.”

Sigora Haiti currently employs more than 30 people that the company has committed to train and retain long term, they work in all areas of the deployment from construction, operation, maintenance, customer service, engineering, project management and senior management.

Sigora has completed the first community grid in Mole St Nicholas Haiti, a town of 6000 people electrified with 24-hour electricity supplying 1,050 households, 32 small businesses, two clinics, six schools and five large commercial customers.
Van den Bosch said: “Scaling Sigora’s model will be life-changing for tens of thousands of people. This is truly a triple-bottom-line business and is exactly the kind ElectriFI seeks to support.”
Quentin Antoine, investment manager at ElectriFI, added: “Sigora Haiti stands to tip the balance in expanding energy access by making micro-grids an investable proposition.”