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Faith-Based Solar Energy Deployment in Africa

Currently around 645 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity. Paradoxically, they who contributed little to global climate change are the most impacted by it. The opportunities are immense for making a positive difference in poor people’s lives. Solar energy production can significantly reduce their reliance on the most polluting fuels, gathered wood and on a larger scale, diesel. A modest five MW solar field avoids125,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions over 20 years – the equivalent of planting 180,000 trees.

 

“Taking advantage of abundant solar energy will require the establishment of mechanisms and subsidies which allow developing countries access to technology transfer, technical assistance and financial resources…”

Pope Francis, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home

 

Mission


Our mission is to put religious teachings on creation care through rapid deployment of solar energy and sustainable rural development into practice to combat climate change and support sustainable development in Africa.

 

Objectives


  • Establishment of a practical, scalable mechanism supporting the pipeline of investment and deployment of at least $1 billion in solar photovoltaic projects of 5 MW or larger in Africa over the next five years.

  • Implementation of projects via a new strategic partnership model of faith institutions and communities in Africa.

 

Partners and Roles


Faith Communities in Africa: Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant Christian, and Muslim

The proposed partners are the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Gigawatt Global, and Tevel b’Tzedek.

The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) unites faith communities, teachers and leaders to promote co-existence, peace, and sustainability through advocacy, education and action-oriented projects.  Working with numerous foundations, private donors, and clients, ICSD has successfully implemented a range of projects from hosting interfaith environmental conferences to facilitating eco tourism in the Holy Land to conducting faith and ecology workshops for students of religion.

Gigawatt Global Coöperatief U.A. is a multinational renewable energy company focused on the development and management of utility-scale solar fields in emerging markets. With over 1000 MW of solar projects in its pipeline worldwide, Gigawatt Global brings extensive experience in all aspects of renewable energy project finance and development.

Tevel b’Tzedek is a non-governmental organization based in Israel that promotes sustainable development in developing countries through the formation of thematic-based groups and community mobilization.

 

Project Summary


The project is a blended for and not-for-profit social venture bringing together faith institutions, NGOs, and Gigawatt Global for rapid, massive deployment of solar energy and scalable rural sustainable development in Africa.

Gigawatt Global will bring all necessary project financing, debt and equity, and will dedicate profits from the corners of the solar fields (a modern updating of a Biblical injunction) to fund work of non-profit organizations, as well as providing power and funding for local social needs. Vastly larger funds may be mobilized much more quickly in the context of a for-profit venture that aims to supply the very basic sustainable development enabler – alternative energy, than is possible from philanthropic sources.

ICSD identifies and recruit faith institutions in sub-Saharan Africa interested in collaborating on this project and providing land for the deployment of solar installations. Our outreach includes Israeli and Jewish African development NGOs as well as senior religious leadership, including in the Vatican, the Anglican church, the Orthodox church, and Muslim institutions. We ask religious leaders and institutions to offer their support and bless the model for adoption by local institutions in Africa at their discretion.

To create, develop and refine the model, we seek to engage faith institutions at all levels. Please reach out to us if your institution/ community is interested in joining our initiative.

 

 

Contact:

Phillipa Friedland

Deputy Director, ICSD

pfriedland@interfaithsustain.com

 

 

Download Project Overview