ARC Power, a British startup, said on Thursday, November 26, it will set up new ‘Solar Business Parks’ – a collection of solar-powered buildings – in rural Rwanda in its latest initiative. The Parks are typically built on land belonging to rural communities and support those who don’t have easy access to electricity. The planned rollout target of 45 parks across the country will connect 250,000 people to affordable, reliable and clean power, according to the firm’s statement released on Thursday. The company indicated that the purpose-built Parks will be established with an aim of supporting local businesses to thrive. “Our work has always been about empowering the people of Rwanda by providing a solution to a lack of reliable power in rural areas,” the company’s chief executive, Karl Boyce said in a statement. The creation of the Solar Business Parks, they say, reflects their desire to empower rural communities of Rwanda and facilitate the emergence of untapped local business potential. ARC has been in operation in Rwanda since 2017, and has plans to connect 16,000 of its citizens nationwide. The first of the parks, located in Murama in the Bugesera District, has recently opened its doors for business. Originally sporting four units, soon to expand to seven, the Solar Business Park will provide a home for a locally owned bakery, tailors, milling station and a welding shop. “It is one thing bringing power to rural areas, but we want to facilitate an expansion of commercial activities in these places,” Boyce noted. The Business Park operates a ‘plug-and-pay’ business model which allows local entrepreneurs to pay for the power used, and the space they occupy at the park, at an agreed rate. For their part, ARC Power will provide any machinery required by the entrepreneurs on finance and charge businesses a certain rental fee for each unit. By the end of 2021, the British firm plans to have at least 20 Solar Business Parks up and running to power the creation of more than 100 new businesses across the country.