Geographically located in the west coast of Africa, the Republic of Guinea-Bissau is a small country with 36.125 km2, with a population of 1.45 million inhabitants, 60% of which located in rural areas (Population and Housing Census - RHPH de 2009). Bambadinca village with 6.4 thousand inhabitants is located in the Bafatá region, 120 kilometers east of the capital city Bissau.
The electricity access rate of Guinea Bissau population is very low: according to the National Action Plan for the Renewable Energy Sector, in 2010, the rate was only 11.5%, whereas in the sub-Saharan Africa region this rate has grown from 23% in 2000 to 32% in 2012. Bambadinca was supplied with diesel generators until 2007, which in the meantime became obsolete, leaving 95% of the village population without electricity.
In that difficult context, TESE - Development Association implemented the “Bambadinca Sta Claro” project between 2011 and 2015, in partnership with ACDB (Bambadinca Community Development Association), DIVUTEC (Guinean Association for the Study and Dissemination of Appropriate Technology), FCUL (Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon) and DGE (Directorate General of Energy of Guinea-Bissau).The project was funded by the European Union (ACP-EU Energy Facility), Portuguese Cooperation (CICL), Global Environmental Facility (GEF), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).
Bambadinca’s mini-grid was built pursuant to the Community Programme for Access to Renewable Energy in Bambadinca – “Bambadinca Sta Claro”, and a business model has been developed and implemented to ensure its sustainable operation.
The technical solution is a decentralized energy system (off-grid) made up of a power generation component and a transmission and distribution system for delivery of energy to the community. The generation system is hybrid thanks to photovoltaic panels and diesel generators (Hybrid Photovoltaic Power Plant - HPPP). The consumption during the night period is met by batteries and if necessary by generators, as a backup system. The HPPP has three identical groups, with a total power of 312kWp. The system ensures 24h/day supply of energy to Bambadinca, achieving a low use of the generators.
To ensure economic and social sustainability of the project, the management is done by a public-community partnership and in this context, the Community Energy Service of Bambadinca (SCEB) has been set up. The local community has been involved in the project since the beginning, both for the development of the management model and for the definition of the tariffs and invoicing models. At the same time, campaigns were set in motion to promote energy efficiency and energy safety, in order to raise awareness among the population for the adoption of correct consumption behaviors and safety.
The SCEB has currently over 650 customers, including households, businesses and institutions ensuring electricity 24h/day mainly through renewable energy. Access to energy contributed to increasing access to economic and social opportunities in terms of education and employment. The success of “Bambadinca Sta Claro” proves the feasibility of mini-grids in Guinea-Bissau, in line with the sector policies in the areas of renewable energy development and energy access.
Responsible for the Energy Sector, Project Coordinator
 Plano de Ação Nacional no Sector das Energias Renováveis (PANER, 2010)
 Africa Energy Outlook, 2014