Solar grid in DRC generates first-ever Peace Renewable Energy Credits (P-RECS)
The regions of the world most affected by crises tend to be those most vulnerable to climate change, and are largely excluded from climate finance flows and related investment. In addition, conflict-affected communities tend to experience high levels of energy poverty, and face issues like hunger, malnutrition and lack of basic human necessities. The effects of climate change are global, and fragile states, which have contributed least, should not have to bear these burdens alone.
Peace Renewable Energy Credits (P-RECs) have the potential to expand the renewable energy revolution to vulnerable regions, improve quality of life, and create economic opportunities. A P-REC is an International Renewable Energy Credit (I-REC) with an additional certification by Energy Peace Partners (EPP) of the social and economic co-benefits associated with the project.
In February 2020, the first sale of P-RECS delivered new funding in Goma, a region in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. These P-RECs were issued from a 1.3MW solar mini-grid constructed by Congolese solar developer Nuru. Revenue from this transaction was used to finance the installation of 35 streetlights along the mini-grid.
SOLAR ARRAY IN GOMA
The DRC has one of the lowest rates of electrification and energy consumption in the world. Congolese citizens do not have an interconnected national grid. Hydropower is the country’s primary source of electricity, but it meets only one-third of the 3GW in unmet and growing demand. This project is one of Africa’s largest off-grid solar mini-grids.
The solar project is expected to serve over 750 households and small to medium-sized businesses. The sale of the first 1,000 P-RECs funded the first of three phases of street light installations.
Developer Nuru has used 100% of P-REC revenue to install public street lights in Goma’s Ndosho neighborhood. Prior to installation, the community identified the lack of streetlights as one of its top priorities.
As of March 20, 2020 an estimated 28,000 people – more than a third of Ndosho population – are seeing tangible improvements from the first stage of this project. With the continued sale of P-RECs, the second and third stage are planned to extend street lights across the entire neighborhood.
+ The solar array and connected street lights in Ndosho have reduced the need for carbon intensive diesel generators; this has a direct climate mitigation impact by reducing local air pollution and decreasing carbon emissions.
+ P-REC revenue provides the capital necessary to unlock project funding.
+ The street lights support the operation of night markets and enable businesses to stay open later, both of which have strong, positive impacts on the local community and economy.
+ The construction and maintenance of the solar array, batteries, and street lights have created, and will sustain, quality local jobs.
Health & Safety:
+ More reliable access to electricity and reduced reliance on diesel generators will have a positive impact on human health in Goma.
+ Improving community lighting at night increases safety and security in densely populated areas where crime incidents have previously caused insecurity for residents and businesses.
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