Solar Bweramule Cooperative
With more than 8 years of experience in the renewable energy sector, the SolarPipo group is a Dutch company aiming to unburden the processes of acquiring and installing solar systems for cooling, water pumps, and other productive uses of dairy cooperatives in Uganda. The funds raised through this campaign will be used to finance a solar energy project at the Bweramule Cooperative in Ntoroko District, in Uganda. The Bweramule Cooperative was founded in 2014 with 20 members, which owned in total around 85 cows. By 2020, it had grown to 163 members with over 380 non-members of the community contributing milk to the milk collection center of the cooperative.
The cooperative is comprised of members who make up the general assembly, the board that constitutes sub-committees of procurement, finance, and project management, the secretariat that comprises the manager and milk collection center staff.
The funds raised through this campaign will be used to replace a diesel generator for a 11.88 kW solar power plant (reducing diesel consumption to zero) and the acquisition of a battery rack (67.2 kWh). By recurring to clean energy, the current cost of cooling the milk will decrease, making the energy more affordable to cooperative milk producers.
Contribution to the decarbonization in Uganda, avoiding CO2 emission: the switch to solar energy will allow the cooperative to run on clean energy only, eliminating the consumption of 3.800 liters of diesel a year that will avoid the emission of 10.2 tons of CO2/year.
CO2 avoided per year
This project fits under an energy savings model scheme where, by installing a solar power plant, the cooperative will reduce their energy expenses, thus being able to pay for the clean energy consumption and the loan. The solar power plant will not only decrease energy expenses for the cooperative but also energy will be more reliable, resulting in a boost of production and longer working hours.
The company will receive a fee to install the equipment and ensure the project funding. It will also provide services throughout the project’s lifetime (five years): customer support, training, maintenance, technical assistance, and optimization of equipment usage.
The average cooperative in Uganda would need an investment of 75.000€ (for equipment and loan costs) for a project such as this one. This loan complements an investment already made by one of the shareholders and another individual investor. The loan will be paid back in five years at a cost of roughly 1.235€ per month, after a 3-month grace period of capital. This is a very acceptable price for the farmers, given their current expenditure on diesel and maintenance. Counting total proceeds for the milk per liter and income, the Cooperative has a monthly gross profit of 8.539€. Diesel costs representing 58% of this amount (4.800€). The total cows or production per cow is up to three liters per cow as it is a dry area and with 530 plus active dairy cows at a given time, over 1.590 liters can be collected in a day.
The Cooperative is currently collecting between 1.000 to 2.300 liters per day depending on the season. The cooperative does collective milk bulking and marketing for the milk collected from members as well as non-members to fetch a competitive market price. There are no current standing debts with banks, microfinance institutions.
Key Investment Information Sheet
Founded in 2017, SolarPipo BV is a Dutch holding company, based in Amsterdam. Its shareholders are Ugandan nationals and two Dutch companies - Rockstart BV and Beehaeve. To better deal with all the funding aspects of the group, the holding company created SolarPipo Finance BV, which in turn owns 100% of SolarPipo Finance Limited in Uganda. The latter contracts directly with the dairy cooperatives.
SolarPipo’s main goal is to ease access to renewable energy for the country’s dairy sector. The company provides its customers, typically dairy cooperatives and farmers, access to a cost-effective and reliable alternative to the grid or diesel generators. Their services answer to the whole sector’s value chain: from the financing to the solar system design and installation; to the technical assistance and system maintenance.
The SolarPipo team, currently composed of seven people, has a combined experience of over 8 years in the renewable energy sector, product development and management, sales and marketing, team-building skills. Its core has been at the helm of management of startups with a keen eye on innovation.
The team is aware of the challenges of providing clean and efficient energy to off-grid SMEs and is committed to solving these challenges.
SolarPipo Finance BV was founded in April 2020. The majority of the shares belong to its Dutch shareholders, with a combined 60 years of experience with Rockstart having the most relevant experience in smart energy ventures and startups.
Dairy farmers’ cooperatives are a growing and very important business sector (10% of the economy) combined with the milk processing industries and transport needed to bring the cooled milk from the farms to the processors. Usually, the milk coolers use sizeable diesel generators for energy. SolarPipo has identified a list of 7 dairy farmers who cannot wait to stop using diesel generators consuming vast amounts of diesel (which can grow easily to significantly higher numbers). Also, there are at least 100 cooperatives on the list of potential customers but also numerous other parties in the dairy sector value chain.
The dairy industry in Uganda is one of the most promising in Africa. Increasing regional demand for dairy products means strong growth potential. The low productivity in many African countries, e.g. Nigeria, Ghana & Tanzania, has resulted in major imports from the EU and therefore increased potential for Uganda to serve regional demand. 20-40% of all milk production in Uganda is wasted due to a lack of timely cooling. Solar cooling technologies can provide consistent cold storage for areas with no or unreliable energy access, offering significant impact potential.
SolarPipo’s business model is based on sharing the benefits of solar systems with its customers (mainly dairy cooperatives). Without any need for investment from the end client, the promoter replaces diesel generators with solar power plants/batterie, owning the equipment during the first 5 years.
The switch to solar energy allows the cooperatives to reduce costs throughout the lifetime of the solar power plants (usually 15 to 20 years). The saved costs are then used to pay for the loan made to purchase the solar installations. The loan interest and the service fees are aligned with local practices, providing enough margin for a reasonable return on the investments made. Besides ensuring funding for the projects and handling the installation of the equipment, SolarPipo remains a close partner to the cooperatives during the first 5 years, answering customer questions, further optimizing the total installation, correcting faults, and optimizing usage with the gathered data. The volume of available projects in Uganda is large, making the growth potential high.
The target dairy farmers are a selection of over 130 Cooperative in the southwestern region of Uganda with an average size that ranges between 200-500 Cows. In the future, the company is planning on providing water pumps in the future following the same model.
SolarPipo believes in the power of alternative lending to extend access to funding for energy projects in Africa.
Number of GoParity Loans
368 investors successfully raised 57.500€
Open for investment
This campaign will help avoid the emission of 10 tons of CO2 per year
GoParity is an impact investment platform that connects companies looking to finance their sustainable projects, with individuals and entities who want to invest sustainably. We are growing, both in terms of size and impact generated. We were born in Portugal in 2017, but have since then financed projects and grown a large community of investors all around the world.
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