The Renewable Energy Fund project that was launched last year officially kicked off operations countrywide and aims to connect at least 445,500 households with solar energy as part of the National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) which sets out a target to achieve universal access to electricity for all Rwandans by the year 2024. It is planned that 52% of the energy will come from the grid and 48% from off-grid. The loan is part of a Result-Based Financing (RBF) subsidy scheme of US$ 15 million that was approved by the Government of Rwanda and World Bank in 2020 and will be implemented as Window 5 under the existing REF program that will benefit at least 200,000 households. The project is designed to address affordability issues of solar home systems which the lower-income population and solar companies identified as a key hindrance. Commenting about the loan, the Managing Director of Bboxx Rwanda and Chairman of the solar energy subcommittee under Energy Private Developers, Justus Mucyo said, “As the country still grapples with the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, access to electricity (SGD 7) is expected to contribute to economic growth, while helping to advance the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It will drive the creation of jobs and promote sustained, inclusive economic growth (SDG 8) as well as offset CO2e emissions to combat climate change (SDG 13).” “It is a positive step in the right direction in securing more funds to help tackle the energy access gap and make progress towards meeting Rwanda’s National Electrification target. We are looking to introduce more products and services to consumers while steadily transforming more lives and unlocking potential through access to energy.” On behalf of BRD, the CEO Ms. Kampeta Sayinzoga, expressed confidence in the fund saying it will further strengthen the efforts and commitment to support Rwanda’s energy sector. “We have seen the benefits of electrifying households spill over to improved livelihoods, decreased health risks, small businesses emerging, financial inclusion, and students’ performances enhanced, among others. Therefore, we cannot be prouder to finance investors in this sector,” she added. The Renewable Energy Fund (REF) Project currently worth USD 48.94 million and targets to connect 445,500 households through off-grid solutions. Currently, only around 52.8% of households have access to electricity with 38.5% of households connected to the national grid while 14.3% are using off-grid solutions.