Replacing diesel with solar in African telecom towers

December 15, 2020

Evolution II Fund, Norfund and Sagemcom have closed an US$35 million commitment to establish ESCOTEL and enable affordable, cleaner energy services for African mobile telecom operators.

The new company ESCOTEL will provide clean energy services to mobile tower owners and operators in Africa.

Inspired Evolution, an Africa-focused investment advisory firm that specialises in clean and renewable energy, led the US$35 million equity investment by its Evolution II Fund and co-investors, Norfund and Sagemcom, with the aim to establish and finance ESCOTEL.

Supplying energy systems for 900 telecom towers

ESCOTEL will initially supply, install, operate and maintain decentralised solar and storage hybrid power systems for a portfolio of around 900 telecom sites in Sierra Leone, Liberia and over time the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Norfund is delighted to take part in this investment. With a new business model, telecom operators will be provided with locally generated renewable energy . This will enable the telecom operators to free up their investment capabilities for building new telecom sites and increasing coverage. ESCOTEL’s activities will thus support the fast-growing digital and telecom economy that is essential to create more jobs in the region – in a sustainable manner.

Pål Helgesen, Investment Director – Clean Energy at Norfund

Avoiding 16.000 tons CO2 annually

ESCOTEL will provide the most up to date power solutions for telecom networks all over Africa, and thereby contribute to increased mobile service quality, reduced cost of ownership, and decreased CO2 emissions.

The business model is to hybridise existing power systems of telecom sites with the supply, installation, and operations of solar and storage power systems, as well as to deploy these cleaner power systems to new telecom sites.

This will abate more than 6,240 tons of CO2  every year in Sierra Leone, and 10,092 tons of CO2  every year in Liberia.

Norfund’s contribution

Norfund has committed US$10 million alongside US$20 million from Evolution II and US$5 million from Sagemcom Energy & Telecom.

Norfund have played a central role since the initial stages of this venture and have participated in the structuring of the business.

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