Ms. Caroline Nijland started in July 2018 her own business, Helios Infinitas, for advisory services, business development, project and operational management, training and lobby in the field of renewable energies and rural electrification, energy access in Africa.
She became since 2001 involved in the field of rural electrification through the use of solar energy in Sub-Saharan Africa and has extensive experience in setting up and managing medium scale electricity companies (DESCO’s) in Africa (total 250 staff). From March 2007 till May 2018 she was General Director of Foundation Rural Energy Services (FRES) in The Netherlands.
Her principal responsibilities were to find sources of financing at governments and multilateral organizations for the implementation of rural electrification activities in Sub-Saharan Africa (70.000 solar home systems and 15 solar/hybrid mini grids with a capacity between 50 and 150 kWp) and to ensure a smooth and effective implementation and operation of rural electrification activities. She has extensive experience with procurement, implementation, operation and monitoring of 15 solar and hybrid mini-grids in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a board member of the FRES companies she supervised their operations to ensure operational excellence and she advised on improving organizational and operational effectiveness in the field. She has been involved in many socio-economic and impact studies and mid-term and final evaluation studies. She has dealt with many governments regarding tariffs negotiation, exemption of various taxes and licenses for concessions.
She has a large network in Europe and Africa and Asia in the renewable energy sector. She has proven capacity to liaise with a wide range of stakeholders and a relevant multi-stakeholder network. She has a lot of experience in management and board positions. Excellent networking and negotiation skills, intercultural sensitivity, very practical, strong problem-solving and social skills, very focused on reaching results, strong command of Dutch, French and English. Between February 2014 to March 2018 she was Board Member and Vice President in the board of the Alliance for Rural Electrification in Brussel.
Caroline Nijland was raised in various countries, including Crete, Cameroon and France and was raised in the solar energy environment. She obtained degrees in the fields of Education and International Relations (master) in The Netherlands. She is specifically interested in the topic of advancing energy access by mobilising private investments in decentral renewable energy by supporting market access and by building a pipeline of bankable investment projects that can provide electricity to rural and peri-urban areas using solar energy (Mini-grids and SHS) or small hydropower. Her main interests are legal, regulatory, financial and operational topics.
Each year, Global Woman club presents nine awards that recognize women who have made a great contribution to the world. This year, Caroline Nijland was speaker but she also received the Global Woman Award for sustainability 2020. She contributed to the connection of 1 million people to solar electricity in subsaharan Africa.
Portfolio of projects
Consumer Protection Principles Clean Mini-Grids: Kick-off meeting (2019, Abidjan)
Partners: Swedfund, ARE, Smart Power India, AMDA
Atelier Rural Electrification: Workshop meeting (21-22 Jun. 2019, Ouagadougou)
Organized by: African Development Bank, Alliance for Rural Electrification
Energy Access Investment Summit (12 April 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands):
Decentralized Renewable Energies in Developing World