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East Africa’s first utility-scale solar power plant inaugurated in Rwanda

Rwamagana, 5th February 2015- A US $23.7 million solar power plant, located in Rubona sector, Rwamagana District, Eastern Province of Rwanda was officially inaugurated by the Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. James Musoni. The plant is the first utility-scale solar power plant in East Africa and generates 8.5 megawatts which is enough to power 15,000 homes. The plant is part of the Government of Rwanda’s goal to provide clean and reliable energy to satisfy growing demand and sustain national development.

Speaking on the inauguration, the Minister of Infrastructure said, “Generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans is a priority for the government. This plant generates 8.5 megawatts of clean energy and is an important addition to help bridge our current energy gap.”

The Government of Rwanda, through the former Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA), currently Rwanda Energy Group Limited (REG Ltd) signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Gigawatt Global Rwanda to build, operate and maintain the on-grid solar power plant for a period of 25 years. The plant is comprised of 28,600 solar photovoltaic modules each with 300Wp (Watt-peak), eight inverters and is connected to the national grid.

Hon. Minister of Infrastructure with guests visiting the plant

The solar plant makes up six percent of Rwanda’s current total energy generation capacity of 156 MW. The objective is to increase the country’s total installed generation capacity to 563 MW by 2017/18. This will be achieved through ongoing and future investments in hydro, peat, methane gas, and solar and other power generation options.

The plant was unveiled by the Minister of Infrastructure and the Chief of Staff of the United States government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC).

The investment made by Gigawatt Global in Rwanda is a clear demonstration that solar will be a key part of Africa’s energy solution. The project is the brainchild of American-Israeli green entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, a pioneer of Israel’s solar industry. The plant created employment opportunities to Rwandans hence better standards of living.

View of the solar photovoltaic modules

The utility-scale solar field is located at the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, an organisation whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. Agahozo Shalom leased the land for the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village’s expenses.

Gigawatt Global will also be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquid Net High School at Agahozo Shalom.

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