- Does this project sponsor one 1 pilot project per country?We will be supporting pilot projects per country. We have grant funding available per country for up to USD 300K, and depending on the level of maturity of the captive solar PV market, we can support up to 2 projects per country.
- Can you share a copy of the presentation to participants who could not attend on time?
Yes. We will upload the recording of the webinar and all documentations on our website.
- Is this available for start-ups?
This depends on the eligibility criteria as mentioned in the Frameworkd document, as long as your firm (including start-ups) can fulfill the prerequisite conditions, you are welcome to apply.
- What are the differences among the 3 projects? Can you clarify?
We’ve classified the requests of funding as follows:
1. Transaction costs: this could be anything that is relevant to provisional advisory services, financial modelling assistance, structuring agreement support, etc.
2. Financing vehicle: this is in relations to the creation of a financing vehicle/ instrument. If your project requires funding to support the development of such instrument, you can apply for grant support as type 2 project.
3. Capacity building: this is only relevant to capacity building projects. If your firm is deemded to benefit significantly from capacity building training, which later can enable the implementation of projects within the captive RE scope and beyond, we will be happy to support and provide funding.
It should be noted that one applicant can only be granted with one type of funding.
- What is the turn around time for review and feedback?
The entire duration from the time of launch of webinar until announcement of grant funding would take around 4 months.
- For a finance pilot project, are we able to develop (business model) proposal of the back of an existing solar PV deployment?
It is possible; however, it needs to be clear on how “doable” the existing solar PV would NOT be WITHOUT the support from the CCI project. In other words, the proposed project needs to prove why the funding from CCI is “additional” (a new twist to the business model, technology development, scaling etc.)
- What are the biggest challenge for EPC companies is trade finance facilities? How do you plan to address these?
Yes, it could be. However, the program is structured in a way that relies on project developers with the specific approach application. There is no specific mechanism to support trade finance as such. But if any EPC has a specific demand, the CCI support could be applicable. In principal, applicants are welcome to apply if there is something we can support with and share the risk of high upfront transaction costs.
- Can you talk a little more about what you consider as "innovative" business models? What does UNEP believe are the greatest barriers to C&I projects?
From our side, we do have our idea on what an “innovative” business model would be, as we have studied the market intensively. However, we would not further disclose this to the public our understanding, as the program is structured in a way that we would receive different applications justifying their business models in terms of innovation. The questions we are asking are “Why is this business model eligible for support?” “What is the difference from what is already existing out there?” “Why would we use the grant to support your project?”.
There are numerous barriers in the market, but we do not think all the barriers would be too big to prevent the business from scaling. Quite obviously, access to finance might be considered a problem, or another big barrier is licensing of large projects (>1megawatt), etc. Thus, our approach helps overcome the upfront costs to share risks and help projects moving forwards.
- Am I correct in understanding that this grant is for structure/Transaction advisory/ SPV or training and not for any equipment costs that would be incurred in an actual project?
Yes. We will not support for the CAPEX, equipment costs for the projects. All the details are included in the frameworks document.
- In light of the COVID-19, how many proposals do you expect per country?
With regards to COVID-19, we are aware of the impact it brings to the sector. But we do hope that the project development activities can continue to some extent. We believe that this project underlines the distributed energy at the right time. The number of proposals is however, hard to predict. We hope that the structure of the project as broadly defined can attract any developers/ companies to apply; but to put out a number on how many would be difficult.
- For the C&I space most projects are between 100k-$1m, the cap of $100k(in Kenya) is (I assume) only for development work? We would already need to have the financial /financier in place, is this correct?
The cap is indeed for development work/ transaction work. Any legal costs related to transaction (e.g, corporate PPA or leasing structure, EPC contract) is also considered. Whether or not any financier in place, this would not be the case here. While we would want to see that the projects are happening when we are supporting them, any commitment/ banks on how the projects should be financed is helpful, but not a requirement.
- Is this grant a one-off or will it be an annual/periodic occurrence? Will there be a 2022 edition, 2023, 2024, etc.?
The grant of up to USD 100k will be disbursed into 2-4 tranches based on the results of agreed milestone, over a period of 18 months. This amount is a one-time availability, but will be disbursed through tranches.
- What comes next after the pilot projects have been executed? Will there be any fund set up to support other eligible projects?As of now, we would with our support try to help the businesses to scale – as the sole purpose of the project. We are trying (with the funds available to us) to help them gain attraction, create lessons learned. Depending on whether the approach results help the sector, there will be potential funders for the sector. Thus, we would say there is no second-round funding available in any of our partner countries, but the focus is on scaling business models from existing players in the country.
- All models/biz plans that are created under this grant would be public information, correct?
As part of the CCI project, our aim is to increase the uptake of RE within the C&I sector. We plan to disburse the knowledge accumulated through the project. Except for sensitive information within the pilot projects will not be disclosed, other information that would help with increasing the uptake in the market will be fully published through our website.
- Is your grant support only to German businesses in Africa?No. Our objective is to help local players in our partner countries (Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa) that are developing projects and proving what is working. We are not necessarily looking at German businesses, but rather on players who know about the businesses, including local firms, international companies, etc.
- What type of applicants are eligible?
C&I customers focusing on clean captive installations. As long as the criteria is fulfilled, CCI will accept the application.
- How many projects does CCI want to fund for each country and what’s the total amount of the projects?
Up to 300k USD per project matched with at least 25% contribution from the applicant. The total amount of projects that will be funded depends on the total amount of requests CCI will receive and the ranking of the applicants.
- Who is eligible to apply? If a donation agency, or non-profit company can apply? Does CCI involve some community organizations?
We encourage and welcome anyone to apply provided that they meet the eligibility criteria and given that the call applies to clean captive installations for commercial and industrial clients.
- Should the 25% matching contribution be in cash or kind?
CCI accepts both. Cash is appreciated however, considering the Covid-19 Pandemic CCI is flexible.
- Your eligibility criteria talks about track record of minimum 2 projects – relevant for type 1 and type 3 applications. Who is our target group? Are we targeting at customers or installers?
The target group could be both customers and installers and the specific requirement for them is demonstrated in the framework document. If the eligibility criteria doesn’t support your type, please contact CCI for further assistance.
- Is the grant amount used for the project execution itself?
Yes. The grant is used for the project execution. It could be used in feasibility, project preparation and execution. It should be in line with the 3 types we described.
- What is the assumed social discount rate? Do you have a standard SD rate or is it based on country’s macroeconomic parameters?
There is no standard social discount rate and it changes depending on countries and specific considerations. The proxy that has been used by utilities or public organizations in several countries is around the expected future inflation rate as the minimum rate of return, which is specifically around 2% in USD. The discount rate will be in line with the cash flows, if they are in nominal or (limited) real terms, and the currency that is being used.
The higher the social discount rate is, the lower the attractiveness and the profitability of the project will be. From the social perspective, a relatively lower social discount rate would be given to renewable energy projects rather than traditional energy projects to help a country speed up the energy transition.
- Is the financial model available on the website?
All the tools could be found on the website. For the financial model, applicants can reach out via email.
- This is for the second presentation on Best Tools. There was a mention of a device called the Hybrid System Controller in the second presentation. We know that a few solar equipment manufacturers have proprietary solutions for this device. But we are not aware that independent manufacturers have more of a generic model. Could you share with us any manufacturer who has a generic Hybrid System Controller?
The Hybrid System Controller and its uses are introduced in the BAT Tool (accessible on the website). A generic hybrid system controller depends on the system design and the equipment use. Its development is based on the overall system components selected by the installer/ company.
- You presented a financial model for balance sheet financing, or what was called ownership model. Does that mean that your program supports only those structures?
No. We aim to support projects that can scale solar captive PV within Kenya. If you consider only the ownership model, the scalability factor might be limited. To other C&I businesses, we are happy to support third-party financing such as PPA or leasing as well as any other business model that is scalable and replicable.
- Do we have to use this financial model or can we apply using our own calculations and model?
The model presented is just for guideline use/ showcase. Indeed, you are more than encouraged to use your own calculations.
- What are the main drivers in for PV captive systems in Kenya and main barriers?
The main drivers for PV captive systems would be the fact that electricity prices will continue to go up, meaning the LCOE will go down for PV in general, making the case for clean captive installation. We can also talk about there is a stronger co-systems between private financiers and developers that are enabled already in the market. As well for the regulation side, there is a window for clean captive installation below 1MW for self-consumption. For the barriers, there is a relative lack of financing through banks, and a stronger barrier on currency exchange. Another barrier is regulatory challenge: as the Energy Act 2019 is very recent, the outdated regulations in 2012 have not yet been in phase. There are a lot of uncertainties ongoing, hindering the development of clean captive installations. Further information can be found in our Kenya Country Report which is downloadable from our website.
- Are there tools/software available which can be used to design the system?
Yes there are several reliable tools that are suitable to designing the PV solar system. For example, HOMER is a very reliable tool and widely used in the industry. Also PV*SOL is another reliable tool. There are other tools available, but HOMER and PV*SOL are among the best tools to give an overview even economical overview – you can have it all with these tools!
- Can diesel generators be eliminated? Or can the system be designed without diesel generators?
In this case, we will have a back-up option resorting to battery storage installation. This depends on the availability of the area for installation, it is more or less relate to your site on what can be done.
- Would you kindly elaborate on LCOE and DSCR and how LCOE determines the viability of the project?
It depends of course on what kind of analysis you are performing. Let’s take the off-taker’s perspective an industrial consumers, we will calculate the LCOE of the Captive PV system: this means that per kWh, the levelized costs throughout the life-time of the system (considering all costs associated) – we are translating project that is very capiial intensive in the first years and relatively with low O&M costs to monetary terms, comparing this against electricity tariffs. As seen from the graph shown earlier in our presentation, we are able to compare the LCOE of the captive system which is estimated with high probability for 25 years against a tariff that we know that the off-taker are based on. From that we will know the feasibility of the project, that is if the LCOE is below the tariff. However, it should be noted that the electricity tariff is uncertain in the future- Also the captive users might hedge against this increase. The LCOE is a nice metric that allows you to compare; but you could also consider other viable metrics (e.g. expected future evolution of the tariff).
- What licenses are required?
As of now, if the capacity is below 1MW, and the industry owns the plant, the electricity is produced for self-consumption of the industrial facility, then no licenses are required. If the capacity is above 1MW, you will need to acquire a permit. If it is above 3MW, you would need a license. The process of getting a license is a bit time-consuming, but not expensive.
- What is the percentage of O&M compared to project costs?
We think we could estimate less than 10% per year, in comparison to initial capex (depending on the system).
- The Ministry of Energy in Ghana has worked with Energy Commission to stop giving out Bulk purchase license for develop large C&I projects in Ghana. So, what kind of projects can we develop?
The license limitation has been put for projects that are large-scale and utility-scale. For captive installation projects, they are still being issued. The reform is independent of CCI’s projects.
- Can you clarify if the total fund available to Ghana is 900k USD since type I, II and III have a max threshold of 300k USD?
The total funding that is available for Ghana itself is 300k USD. Each applicant should apply for only one type of application for a maximum of 300k USD of funding requested. An applicant can apply for the entire 300k USD. Each applicant can apply to one type, either type 1, 2 or 3, not all 3 type could be covered by one applicant. If the top applicant requests for 200k USD, the second could get 100k USD. Depending on the number of applicants and their requested funding, the total number of projects to be supported will vary.
- Can one or two UN agencies submit a joint proposal? Since the Ministry of Energy in Ghana is already part of the project, are they the only government partner to be involved in the project? Can the UNCT involve energy sector think tanks or CSOs in the application?
This programme is primarily targeted to enable private sector players and therefore no UN agencies or government agencies should apply.
- The presentation about Ghana was very interesting. Is it possible that you send us the slides?
Please visit our website where you will find all documents for download – both the country study and the slides. Also the recording of the session will be provided on the website.
- What advice would you give to impact investors considering to provide financing for solar projects in Ghana? For a start-up? What relevant areas should be looked into?
Our advice to impact investors is to understand your own mission, focus on environmental and social metrics as much as financial metrics, and a case-by-case analysis is also needed to incorporate the interests of the specific investment. It is recommended to conduct interviews with the stakeholders involved and, if needed, perform on-site visits of projects.
- There are pure technical considerations for investments in renewables. Do you have any private sector engagement strategy or political economy frameworks for initiating and managing such investments?
We incorporate the content of enabling regulatory environment for private sector investment in the Ghana Country Study. Eligibility criteria regarding technical, environment and financial feasibility for projects are available in the framework document on the website. For further clarification, please reach out to us.
We also cooperate closely with local policy-makers on the acceleration of sustainable energy solutions. We support that each country has its own policy and regulatory framework to better involve and encourage the private sector.
- Is there a project coordination office in Ghana for the purpose of further support and information sharing, during and after the 'one' pilot project?
The programme is implemented in agreement with the Ministry of Energy in Ghana. In-depth support to applicants and projects is provided through the CCI team and our offices in Germany and Kenya. Once the pandemic allows, the team will also conduct in-country missions.
- What opportunities exist for participating financial institutions who may want to obtain additional funding under this grant scheme to scale existing lending to the off-grid solar PV sector?
Depending on the type of activity that the additional funding will support, we are able to provide funds to cover (1) transaction costs, (2) costs for creation of a financing instrument/vehicle, (3) costs to cover capacity building. Kindly refer to the framework document for further details on this.
- What percentage of the $300,000 grant covers in the financing?
The grant funding of USD 300,000 is available in full for pilot project(s) in Nigeria.
South Africa FAQs
- Can you expand on what is meant by E&S Standards referenced in the presentation?
Please refer to the framework document for detailed explanation.
- What do you mean when you talk about total transaction cost not exceed 25% of equipment and installation cost?
Please refer to the framework document for detailed explanation.
- Are environmental studies funding catered for? Will the funding be available for urban as well as rural setting?Environmental studies can be funded depending on the type of project it is requested for. It could fall under type 1 or type 3 application. CCI grant application is open to both urban and rural projects.