Towards a Blockchain Special Purpose Vehicle for Financing Independent Renewable Electricity Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa
preprintposted on 17.07.2020, 07:02 by Olakunle Alao, Paul Cuffe
Sub-Saharan Africa requires affordable, reliable, and sustainable electricity to boost its economic, social, and human development. The main challenge posed to the region's electricity sector is the large investment gap needed to finance new power projects. The employment of new and innovative financing options is required to bridge this investment gap. Independent power projects have become one of the fastest-growing sources of new finance in the region. However, their development is constrained by the limited availability of debt finance for project implementation. The limited capital and bureaucratic burden of traditional financial institutions coupled with the high risks in the region ensures that the debt finance required by independent power projects is raised only after an arduous voyage and at high interest rates. We address these challenges by proposing a novel decentralized finance instrument, a blockchain special purpose vehicle that streamlines the processes in the financial layer of a traditional special purpose vehicle -- finance mobilization, revenue collection, and revenue disbursal. Specifically, the proposed decentralized finance instrument facilitates the mobilization of finance for the special purpose vehicle from a location-independent crowd, revenue collection from the electricity offtaker in a risk-mitigated manner, and disbursal of eventual project revenues to investors.