SunCulture Wins Project of the Year

Arusha, Tanzania – SunCulture, a Kenya-based company specializing in solar pumping, irrigation and technology solutions wins EEP Africa 2019 Project of the Year from a group of five finalists.

The EEP Africa Project of the Year Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an EEP Africa portfolio company during the past year.

Five finalists were invited to the EEP Africa Knowledge Exchange Forum in Arusha, Tanzania on 4 December for a live pitching session in front of an audience of close to 100 renewable energy stakeholders and a jury panel composed of EEP Africa funding partners as well as investor and policy partners.

SunCulture is based in Nairobi, Kenya and received EEP Africa financing support in 2015 to develop a commercially viable solar irrigation business model.

“SunCulture was extremely fortunate to benefit from an EEP Africa grant at an early stage in our development, which enabled us to pioneer off-grid solar-powered irrigation systems designed specifically for smallholder farmers,” said Samir Ibrahim, SunCulture CEO and Co-founder, adding, “2019 was a breakthrough year for us, and it’s an honour to be recognized as EEP Africa’s Project of the Year. We’re excited to bring life-changing technology to more and more smallholder farmers in 2020.”

The SunCulture solar irrigation product enables smallholder farmers and women-led rural households to transform their livelihoods, enhance climate resilience and dramatically increase household income by enabling reliable access to water for small scale agriculture.

Lucy Jong’a, SunCulture’s Head of Finance led the pitch for the company in Arusha, describing key 2019 achievements including:

  • Delivering access to reliable water and renewable energy to over 20,000 people;
  • Launching new products and technologies including the RainMaker2, ClimateSmart Direct, and Direct Drip;
  • Expanding operations outside of Kenya with pilots in Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Senegal and Togo;
  • Winning two Global LEAP Awards for best-in-class off-grid technology; and
  • Securing an inventory financing facility from the Facility for Energy Inclusion’s Off-Grid Energy Access Fund (FEI-OGEF), which is, in turn, financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as well as the Nordic Development Fund, EEP Africa’s institutional home.

The award was presented to Lucy Jong’a, SunCulture Head of Finance, by Christina Stenvall-Kekkonen, Vice President and Chief Counsel of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF).

Other finalists for Project of the Year included:

  • Ensol, a local Tanzanian company that develops solar micro-grids and other renewable energy solutions in off-grid areas, represented by Prosper Magali, Director of Projects and Business Development;
  • SolarWorks!, the largest company in Mozambique and Malawi offering solar home systems through pay-as-you-go, represented by Casper Sikkema, CCO.
  • NALA PayGo, a local, women-led start-up that is piloting pay-as-you-go sales of solar home systems in Lesotho, represented by Moliehi Shale, Managing Director.
  • Zonful Energy, a for-profit social enterprise that sells, distributes and installs high-quality modular solar home systems through pay-as-you-go to rural households in Zimbabwe, represented by William Ponela, CEO.

Panelists for the pitching session included:

  • Christina Stenvall-Kekkonen (Chair), Vice President and Chief Counsel of the Nordic Development Fund (NDF);
  • Juha Savolainen, Director of the Unit for Southern and Western Africa, Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland;
  • Heinz Habertheuer, Director of Department, Programmes and Projects International, Austrian Development Agency (ADA);
  • Michael Kiza, Programme Management Expert, East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (EACREEE); and
  • Alex Kanyonga, Investment Director, FEI-OGEF.

Finalists and panel members for the EEP Africa 2019 Project of the Year at the Knowledge Exchange Forum in Arusha, Tanzania.

EEP Africa thanks all the 2019 Project of the Year nominees, finalists and jury members! Looking forward to another great year of results in 2020!