Tanzania offers various possibilities of electrifying its vast areas through solar, biomass, and hydro, among other sources.

Guillem Gomis

Senior Manager of Operations, Husk Power Systems Tanzania

Husk is one of the world's leading off-grid utilities. Tanzania is a strategically important market for expansion. We are expanding our team size rapidly in Tanzania and plan to train over 50 technicians in 2018. We provide reliable power to rural communities and businesses, entirely from renewable energy sources—24 hours a day, seven days a week—at a price they can afford. By understanding how rural customers aspired to use power, we developed an energy solution that gave them the freedom and flexibility they desired. Making this possible in every village is at the heart of everything we do. We installed our first hybrid mini-grid sites powered by a Husk proprietary system of Solar PV-Biomass Gasification system-Battery back-up in Tanzania. We are also working on installing another mini-grid site at a feverish pace. In 2018, we plan to install 10 additional hybrid mini-grid sites and will target the installation of 150 such sites in the coming five years.

Dr. Donath Olomi

Director, Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development (IMED)

We started the Tanzania Renewable Energy Business Incubator (TAREBI) program to develop a sustainable incubator that can actually be profitable. In 2013, we partnered with Norges Vel, a Norwegian NGO, and established a pilot program in 2014. We bring in people with micro-businesses and support them to scale up and formalize their businesses. The function of an incubator is to support businesses when they are young, when they do not have strong risk assessment capabilities, networks, or financial resources. TAREBI provides links with mentors and financial institutions, and helps when developing business plans. We work with enterprises from various renewable energy segments, including five solar businesses, one in bio-gas, and one in the production of electricity from crop waste. Because renewables are not often seen as an attractive opportunity, one of the main barriers for companies entering the renewable energy sector is funding. We are working to change this and develop these businesses.

Hamisi Mikate

Managing Director, Ensol

Since 2001, a great deal has happened. The pricing of solar worldwide has changed; new technologies and business models are constantly being introduced, both small scale and large scale; and many new players have emerged. At Ensol, we have embraced this learning culture, always improving ourselves and keeping in touch with what is happening worldwide. When we started, there were only two or three other solar power companies. Today, there are hundreds, perhaps even 200, operating both locally and internationally. In order to compete in the field, we have to focus on our niche to provide our customers with the right business model tailored to each and every one. We focus on institutions: schools, health facilities, community projects, solar irrigation projects, and so on, both in the public and private sector. We also do residential, though this amounts to only 10% of our portfolio, and we are primarily involved in large-scale projects. As we grow, we also focus on strengthening our presence in solar home systems, and we want to build partnerships with other big players worldwide.

RJ Gregory

Director, Tractors Ltd.

Our pilot project in Mafinga takes wood industry waste, carbonizes it, and combines it with binder and other ingredients to make charcoal briquettes. Around 80-90% of the population in Dar es Salaam uses wood or charcoal to cook, which has led to illegal deforestation on a massive scale. Our plant currently has capacity to produce 30-40 tons a day, meaning it barely scratches the surface of this demand; however, we are scalable, situated on a 22 acre site, with only 1.5-2 acres in use. The Mafinga area is central to Tanzania's lumber industry, with many mills in the area that currently burn their waste because they do not have a place to store it. We take their offcuts and sawdust and process these into briquettes. The gas generated from the carbonization process can be captured and used to run the furnace and the additional by-products—wood tar and wood vinegar—have many uses, as well, so it is an efficient use of a waste product. It is clearly necessary to find an alternative form of producing charcoal given that the market will not shrink. Africa produces 60% of the world's charcoal, and most of it is consumed within the continent.