two men behind a podium
Launch of OCEF’s second call for proposals: Marc Nounagnon, Head of OCEF at MCA (left) and Robert Van Der Plas, NIRAS/OCEF team leader (right).

OCEF launches a new call for proposals to increase electricity access in Benin

The second round of financing from the Off-Grid Clean Energy Facility (OCEF) offers EUR 17.5 million in the form of grants for organisations and enterprises developing and operating sustainable off-grid energy projects.

18. Jan 2019

With less than three months to go, the Off-Grid Clean Energy Facility (OCEF), a shared-cost fund with the goal of co-financing profitable off-grid renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in Benin, is urging project developers to submit their proposals for funding to support business plans for sustainable off-grid electrification efforts. Running until 8 March 2019, the call is open to national and international private companies, NGOs, public entities, community organisations, energy efficiency project promoters, and other institutions.

Since mid-2017, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) off-grid electrification effort in Benin has been aimed at supporting the development of clean and efficient energy solutions where traditional distribution channels do not exist. To this end, MCC established the OCEF grant fund. Following the Benin Government's recent adoption of an off-grid policy, strategy, regulatory framework, and master plan, OCEF launched a second round of call for proposals. The first call (February–May 2018) made EUR 10.5 million available to pay out to selected projects.

Field of solar panels installed at Grand Popo (20 KWC)

Four financing windows for different types of projects

For this round of financing, a total of EUR 17.5 million is available in the form of grants to support the development and operation of a sustainable off-grid electrification initiative in Benin. The second call for proposals includes rural electrification activities under four windows:

  • Window 1: Off-grid energy for essential public infrastructure such as street lighting, hospitals, public health centres, courts, universities, schools, and other community infrastructure.
  • Window 2: Decentralised generation and distribution of electricity via mini-grids or micro-grids for community and/or productive use, as presented in the Master Plan for Rural Electrification (more information on the government's plan in French available here).
  • Window 3: Household Energy Systems. Support to companies to import, sell, distribute, install, and maintain household-level photovoltaic technologies, including solar home kits and other similar products for irrigation.
  • Window 4: Support to business models focused on the implementation of energy efficiency measures by public institutions, households, and commercial and industrial users.

EUR 17.5M

available in funding for project developers

Building on past success

In the first call earlier last year, some 39 applications were received mainly for the first and third window. A total of seven project proposals have been provisionally selected and will be reviewed by an investment committee before final approval. Project developers jointly requested EUR 6.9 million for OCEF support and proposed EUR 12.5 million of own contributions towards the realisation of their business plans. Implementation of selected projects is already expected to begin this year, and activities should be operational within a 24-month period. 

Please visit the OCEF website for more information or to submit a proposal.

To learn more about the OCEF on the NIRAS platform, go here.