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Islamic finance and crowdfunding bring clean energy to isolated communities in Nigeria

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Islamic finance and crowdfunding bring clean energy to isolated communities in Nigeria

Most people in Niger who were only connected to the national electricity grid for a few hours a day, if at all, rely on backup generators. Gasoline generators which was not only expensive but also dirty and noisy. There are an estimated 60 million diesel and gasoline generators in the country and 120 million Nigerians rely on kerosene for light. This means not only crippling fuel subsidies, but also environmental, health and safety degradation.

But there is a large untapped market for solar power (only 13.6% of Nigerians have it) which is a cleaner and quieter option. For such reasons UNDP is working with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and Trine, a Sweden-based crowdfunding platform that focuses on sustainable solar investments, to determine how increasing the number of homes and places solar-powered workplaces can contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and improve the daily lives of Nigerians.

Greenlight Planet launched three campaigns in 2021 to raise $3.27 million, including $1.9 million directly from the IDB and $2.18 million from Trine investors. It is a for-profit company that designs, distributes and finances solar home systems specifically for off-grid communities in Nigeria.

Thanks to such actions in Nigeria, there are people today who have stopped depending on oil. They bought solar installations for their house and workplace. Let us give the example of Fatuma Toneye, a self-employed woman who has to support her children. She can now keep her pharmacy open three more hours a day using solar power. For the Nigerian woman, one of the most significant benefits was the extra time her two children had to study in the evenings.

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