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Africa Growth and Energy Solutions (AGES) wins us$100,000 solar development prize for its 25mw solar project in Sierra Leone

Amsterdam, 19 February 2016: Access Power, developer, owner and operator of power projects in emerging markets, and the Dutch development bank FMO are delighted to announce that a solar project being developed in Sierra Leone by Africa Growth and Energy Solutions UK Plc (AGES) has won their US$100,000 solar development prize.

The award will be used towards the development costs of the 25MW solar project, which will be constructed in Bo, Sierra Leone and provide power for approximately 100,000 homes and businesses. First power is expected to be delivered in January 2017.

Albert Smith, Development Director at AGES, a renewable energy development company focused on Africa, said: "Bo is in darkness for three months of the year. Our project is the first solar PV plant of its kind in Sierra Leone and will transform the area it serves in a sustainable manner, creating quite literally a brighter future for the local community.

"We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. We didn't expect to win at all, we were just so happy to have qualified for the competition and to be able to present our project to such an esteemed audience."

The prize was awarded to the Bo Solar project when they were pronounced winners at the prestigious Solar Shark Tank competition held at the Making Solar Bankable conference in Amsterdam.

The live contest, established and funded by Access Power and FMO, is modelled on the familiar high-pressure 'Shark Tank'/'Dragon's Den' TV format. A shortlist of three developers from the emerging markets of Mongolia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone were given just five minutes each to convince an expert panel of judges why their solar power project deserved the coveted award.

Contestants then had to answer a series of challenging questions from the judges before the final decision was made on who would receive the $100,000 grant, funded by Access Power and FMO, towards the development of their project.

The event took place live on stage in front of an industry audience. Separating the worthy finalists proved a tough task but eventually the judges gave the winner's laurels to the Bo solar project.

Aart Mulder, Manager Energy FMO said: "It was hard to choose a winner from all these impressive projects and the jury was equally impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of all three projects. However, in the end we chose AGES's Sierra Leone project because this project best combined the commercial, social and technical impact in a challenging country such as Sierra Leone."

Reda El Chaar, Executive Chairman, Access Power, commented, "This was certainly a close-fought and hugely enjoyable contest. We are proud to be associated with this prize which seeks to support solar developers in emerging markets by encouraging innovation and changing perceptions of its current achievements and enormous potential.

"I am also delighted that as an African project the winners pre-qualify to compete for this year's Access Co-Development Facility. ACF 2016 is leading the way in demonstrating and supporting the type of renewable energy projects that will help meet Africa's massive and urgent need for electrification."

The Access Co-Development Facility (ACF 2016) is a US$7 million development funding support mechanism designed to serve as a unique platform to bridge the gap between early-stage projects in the continent and the expertise and funding they require to become operational.

Following the scheme's successful launch last year, the ACF increased its funding pot from US$5m in 2015 to US$7m. The successful projects will be selected by a panel of expert judges whose decision will be based on commercial, technical and environmental merits, the local regulatory environment, and the project team.

The final decision on the ACF will be made on Tuesday 21st June 2016 before a live audience during the Africa Energy Forum in London.

Notes to editors:

Media Contacts

For more information, please contact Stephanie Blott or Francesca Boothby at or call +44(0)203 727 1885

About Access Power

Access Power was founded in May 2012 with the aim of structuring, developing, and investing in infrastructure projects in emerging and frontier markets. Access has assembled a development team with a track record of financially closing around 30 GW of power projects across the globe, with a specific focus on the MEA region.

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Africa Growth and Energy Solutions (AGES) is a UK based company with experience in developing renewable energy projects. The company aims to combine power generation with sustainable development programmes by collaborating with both local and international stakeholders, transforming the communities they serve as a result. AGES specialise in finding the appropriate technical solutions and finance partners in order to fund sustainable projects.

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