As of 2019, only 26 percent of the population in Sierra Leone has access to energy sources, including grid, mini-grids, and standalone solar. To date, an estimated USD 443 million has been invested to achieve these connections. Grid connections have received the bulk of investment to date (~76 percent), comprising nearly 68 percent of all connections. This report has found through consultations that approximately 152,000 households are connected via SAS, with this segment receiving only ~9 percent of total energy access investments. However, the true number of connections is hard to assess, as there is little official data, for example GOGLA members reported nearly 38,000 SHS and Pico products sold in 2019 alone.
Beyond on-grid electrification, stakeholders have supported the mini-grid sector with investment and market-building activities. The government and development partners have prioritized mini-grid technologies which they estimate can reach ~200,000 connections. Examples of mini-grid sector support include the Rural Renewable Energy Project funded by FCDO (formerly DfID) and implemented by UNOPS that seeks to install nearly 90 mini-grids, with 50 already installed and providing energy access to 12,500 households. In addition, USTDA, a development agency has commissioned a feasibility study and injected USD 1 million to understand the viability of developing a further 50 mini grids in SL.
Investment into SAS includes funding to support development of the SAS sector and direct investment into SAS companies. Mini-grids include 47 installed by UNOPS and, four by ECREEE and PRESSD-SL while grid refers to funding in expansion of the national grid. For a full breakdown, please refer to table 4 in the appendix section of the report.
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