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Project Journal

Project title Light Up Liberia
Country Liberia
Project description

The overall objective of the project is to reduce poverty and improve stability and living conditions of the rural poor in Liberia, while contributing to Liberia's poverty reduction strategy (PRS) goal of extending solar energy to 10,000 villages and reducing use of charcoal and wood fuel. 

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Project Number (CRIS) FED/2014/353-422
Project component Off-grid/small-scale electricity production
Technology sector Solar photovoltaic
Technology sub-sector Efficiency cooking (Fuel Saving Stoves) Efficiency lighting Energy services business development Solar photovoltaic Support to market development Mini-grid

The 3 specific objectives are: 

1. Increase access to modern, affordable, sustainable and scalable energy services for the rural poor. Using a community-based approach, the project will install solar energy generation infrastructure at targeted public institutions (schools and health centers) which will benefit from free access to this power, and power generated will be sold to nearby households connected through a micro-grid. Users will make pay-as-you-go utility payments, calculated to be affordable to rural users based on current energy expenditures and willingness to pay services. Financial modelling shows that the project will realise positive cash-flow in 3-5 years, offsetting initial investment, management and maintenance fees. Ownership will be vested in the communities, managed by local entrepreneurs, and supported by the social enterprise established to manage infrastructure and payments. This interprise will reinvest tariff payments into project replication and expansion, seeking to leverage additional local investments to scale up the model. 

2. Maximise productive use of modern energy services for increased economic opputunity and poverty reduction, supporting rural households, farmer groups and agricultural cooperatives to harness local energy resources for productive use (production, processing, storing and marketing of agricultural goods) and promoting other productive uses of energy at local level (e.g. carpentry, welding, restaurants, cold storage etc.) The project will seek to demonstrate the viability of business models that use increased energy access to generate increased incomes, with the goal of attracting further investmenst. In addition, the project will support access to small-scale energy-efficient agro-processing equipment at household or community level to increase farmer income.

3. Improve planning and coordination within the rural energy sector and increase private sector engagement in rural electrification solutions. The project will work closely with RREA to increase private sector engagement in the rural energy sector and attract private investments to address the country's rural energy needs. Promotion of private sector capacities run through all three objectives, and objective 3 will focus on building individual and institutional capacity to promote a policy framework that supports and attracts private sector actors to this sector.   

Impact to date

As at December 2017:

Over 2,000 products (solar and cook stove) have been sold through the 10 retailers that have been identified. Six networking events have been held with the Rural Renewable Energy Agency. The establishment of a curriculum and course for solar PV technicians in 3 vocational schools is positive. Project partner relations appear to be constructive. 


As at September 2016:


The project attempt to develop a business model to make community-managed micro-grids viable. The 8 villages for the pilot phase have been selected and renewable entrepreneurs have been identified. 

Testimonies Not specified
Implementing body Mercy Corps Scotland LGB
Total budget 2,478,017
EC Contribution (planned) 1,858,513
Project operating start date 19-03-2016
Real end date 30-09-2019

Contact Details

Name Lisa Seymour-Doughty 
E-mail ldoughty@mercycorps.org