In 2018, British renewable energy leader, ARC Power, expanded to Rwanda in a bid to drive a more sustainable solution than just providing lights and the ability to charge “a mobile phone”. With only four years on the local market, the firm has been recognized, for its work, through various accolades including the Energy Globe World Award in November, this year. Among other awards include the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, commonly known as Britain’s most prestigious business award. With over 50 permanent staff, the company says it has already connected more than 10,000 households, with the numbers expected to shoot up. The New Times’ Edwin Ashimwe spoke to Karl Boyce, Chief Executive Officer at the firm, in what turned out as an insightful discussion, particularly around activities on the local market, major developments in the pipeline as well as expanding on the Continent. Excerpts, Briefly take us through ARC Power since expanding to the local market We set ARC Power up in Rwanda in 2018, having spent quite some time looking at the off-grid market and wanted to bring a more sustainable solution than just providing lights and the ability to charge a mobile phone. We built our first ARC (generation unit) and connected the first village in Bugesera District in 2019, with 207 houses and small businesses. Since then, we have built a team of more than 50 full-time staff in Rwanda and employ more than 250 when we are actually installing a grid. The firm claims to have so far connected more than 10,000 people, since its inception. How do you break down this achievement? We have now connected more than 10,000 people, 150 businesses and 3 schools to first-time affordable, reliable and clean power across two districts, Bugesera and Gatsibo. We would have connected at least 5 times this by now, but have been restricted by Covid-19 and changes in the energy sector in Rwanda (National Electrification Plan). ARC Power does however, account for about 80 percent of the a/C Solar mini grid market in Rwanda to date. Talking about Covid-19, are there particular lessons learnt? We have built a great team now which will allow us to scale quickly and connect many more people at a later rate in the future. We have also learnt a lot over the last 3 years about the energy demand of our rural customers and the positive developments that happen once power has been installed. We are looking to collaborate with Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and the government to leverage on our experience so far and support the scaling of energy access to work towards the 2024 targets in Rwanda, both in terms of access and clean energy mix. ARC power was recently recognized globally for its activities in Rwanda. How Do you intend to capitalize on this? I am delighted to share that ARC Power won the Energy Globe World Award for our sustainable development in Rwanda. I have just returned from Vienna, Austria where the Awards Ceremony was held. ARC Power was selected out of more than 3,000 countries across 183 countries globally, so this is a great recognition for our work so far. Parting shot ARC Power now has a significant pipeline and plans to connect more than two million people to first-time power over the next five years, in different countries on the continent. The firm is at the forefront of Africa’s energy revolution, helping to unlock the continent’s potential as a world leader in distributed renewable energy.