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Beninese Company Partners with U.S. Firm to Improve Rural Energy Access with support from the U.S. Government

  • Benin
  • Energy

The Challenge:

Thirty-two percent of Benin’s population has access to electricity with a significant gap between urban and rural communities. While 63 percent of Benin’s urban population has energy access, only nine percent of the country’s rural population has access to electric power. This gap in energy access for Benin’s rural communities creates roadblocks to improving healthcare, education, local economies, and more.

“As a social enterprise, what motivates us is the impact electricity can have on rural communities. This is also very much aligned with our minigrid operator business: the more useful and transformative our services are, the more electricity people will consume. Both technological and business model innovations are key to trigger this kind of virtuous circle of economic and social development. We strongly believe that what USTDA is helping us achieve in Benin can contribute to solving the electricity access crisis for millions more.”

Tristan Kochoyan CEO of Sherlock Grids

Our Solution & Impact:

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) awarded grant funding to Sherlock Grids SAS, a Beninese company that is expanding and improving clean energy access in rural Benin. The company will collaborate with SparkMeter, a Washington, DC-based technology provider, to analyze the feasibility of bringing solar-powered minigrids online for tens of thousands of Beninese. The funding will also allow Sherlock Grids and SparkMeter to demonstrate the benefits of implementing a digitalized system to fully integrate and remotely manage multiple minigrids. The two companies have noted that USTDA’s investment in this kind of minigrid technology project could lead to replicable results that will encourage more investment in the sector, and serve as one step in solving the electricity crisis in countries across the globe.

“We’re confident that USTDA’s forward-thinking investment in utility digitalization in Benin and throughout the region is a prelude to larger-scale investment within the minigrid sector.”

Dan Schnitzer CEO of SparkMeter