December 14, 2020

Milbank Advises Standard Microgrid on Securing Operating Rights to Provide Electricity to Rural Communities in Zambia


Milbank LLP has advised Standard Microgrid Initiatives Limited (“Standard Microgrid”) on securing operating rights to provide electricity to rural communities in Zambia, utilising output excesses from the Chitumba solar milling plant in Chongwe. The firm’s advice included negotiating the documentation for Standard Microgrid’s partnership with the Zambian Rural Electrification Authority and the development of the retrofitted solar mill into a resource for use in approximately 60 connections in the surrounding community. The project is Standard Microgrid’s pilot partnership with the Rural Electrification Authority, in pursuit of the wider aim of providing repowered electricity to over 50,000 rural Zambians.

Standard Microgrid is a solar microgrid developer focused on providing advanced energy services to Africa’s rural poor. Standard Microgrid have developed an innovative approach to providing distributed renewable energy services in Zambia: a 12kW micro power utility that integrates proprietary grid management tools with solar photovoltaic (PV) technology and batteries to provide clean, reliable energy to approximately 150 customers (including households, small businesses, rural schools and clinics).

Standard Microgrid’s solution simplifies and automates the otherwise complex construction and operation of a solar PV microgrid. The Standard Microgrid Smart Meter enables remote demand-side control of the grid which, when used in conjunction with the Microgrid Manager Mobile App, provides the ability to sell prepaid energy services, report energy use and misuse, and maximise utilisation of the unit’s generation capacity. These cloud-based tools enable local entrepreneurs to operate as agents, selling prepaid credit to community members, whilst being supported by a remote technical team which can monitor grid performance and troubleshoot issues.

The Milbank team represented Standard Microgrid on a pro bono basis, led by Projects, Energy & Infrastructure Finance partner John Dewar and special counsel Chris Taufatofua, with associate Emily Whittaker and trainee Tom Rhys Jones and Global Capital Markets partner Rebecca Marques and associate Ken Ryan.