Yoma Micro Power announced that the International Finance Corporation (IFC)2, with the support of the Government of Canada, will be joining Norfund and Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. as its investment partner, according to a statement.
Together, the partners will raise up to US$28 million by way of equity and debt financing. The investment will enable Yoma Micro Power to generate and distribute electricity using solar-based micro power plants and mini-grids to power telecom towers in rural Myanmar as well as off-grid communities.
Post the investment, Yoma Strategic will hold 35%, while Norfund and IFC will hold 30% each in Yoma Micro Power. The remaining 5% will be held by Alakesh Chetia, an experienced professional in the power infrastructure sector who is leading the initiative. Canada’s contribution to the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program has helped make this financing package viable.
Following the successful completion of a 10-site pilot scheme in Sagaing Region last year, Yoma Micro Power now aims to electrify hundreds of telecommunications towers and rural communities across Myanmar this year, with the potential to scale up to more than two thousand micro power plants by 2022. The aim thereafter is to expand coverage to meaningfully service the millions of unelectrified people in the country. The Sagaing pilot has already seen 10 telecommunications towers, four villages and up to 700 people in off-grid areas given access to electricity.
Mr. Alakesh Chetia, CEO, Yoma Micro Power said, “It’s a huge compliment that IFC has chosen to partner with us as we work tirelessly to bring electricity to off-grid communities in Myanmar. Due to the rapid reduction in the cost of solar panels and batteries, solar-powered mini-grids have emerged as a viable alternative for rural electrification which can be deployed rapidly and financed with private capital. Our mini-grids offer an efficient pathway to rural electrification as we are able to provide an on-grid experience to rural villages that may otherwise have to wait ten or more years to obtain grid electricity.”
Yoma Micro Power builds, owns, operates and maintains micro-power plants and mini-grids in off-grid areas. These installations are powered by a combination of PV solar modules, diesel generators and energy storage solutions. The micro power plants provide electricity to an “anchor tenant” such as a telecommunications tower operator and the mini-grid provides electricity to the surrounding communities, including households, schools, shops and businesses. Rural households can pay for the electricity service using cash or Wave Money, Myanmar’s leading mobile financial technology provider, bringing electrical and financial inclusion together in rural Myanmar.
Mr. Vikram Kumar, Myanmar Country Manager, International Finance Corporation stated, “We are tremendously pleased to support the business approach of Yoma Micro Power which, in addition to providing renewable energy solutions to the telecommunication towers industry, will build on this network to also deliver highly impactful solar power to unelectrified rural communities. This approach fits with IFC’s efforts to promote social inclusion through the provision of basic infrastructure to underserved segments of the rural population. We believe the business model of Yoma Micro Power presents great opportunity to provide clean and dependable electricity to a large number of rural citizens, with the scale-up of the business approach going forward.”
Mr. Mark Davis, Executive Vice President, Clean Energy Norfund commented, “The energy sector is changing and solutions involving generation of energy closer to where it is consumed have become more competitive. The pioneering work done by Yoma Micro Power provides access to reliable electricity which is a prerequisite for economic growth and development.”
Mr. Melvyn Pun, CEO, Yoma Strategic stated, “The partnership with Norfund and IFC is a huge show of confidence in the viability of this Project. The recent success of the 10-site pilot scheme in Sagaing Region demonstrates the reliability of our offering to our partners, and we are eager to roll out quickly to build scale. Yoma Strategic is excited to provide affordable, reliable and clean energy to rural communities which can be such a catalyst for further economic development.”