FEATURED: Off-grid solar energy projects transform Gatsibo Village

New 50kW hybrid mini-grid in Rutenderi Village, the project to benefit more than 500 households.

Rutenderi village, Malimba cell, Kabarore sector, Gatsibo district residents will never ask for the matchbox to light a candle, send their children to walk a long distance of about 2 kilometres to have their phone batteries charged and close early their small retail business thanks to the new off grid solar plant that was installed in their village.

The project that was launched on Thursday, having a capacity of 50 kilowatts with 120 kilowatts hour’s batteries powering over 570 households, 36 businesses including a small maize-flour processing industry and 7 social institutions.

The maize milling is booming in Rutenderi Village.

At the launch Alberto Pisanti, Chief Executive Officer of Absolute Energy the company that installed and did the transmission, applauded the partnerships of  Government of Rwanda, the district, the province, REG, EDCL, RDB, and other institutions, to bring the connection in the remote village.

“ We are grateful for the good reception you have so far extended to us in your beautiful country, which has enabled us to have this comes to pass and we hope that it is the first to those other projects yet to come,” he said.

Pisanti stressed that his company is not only going to provide light only to the village but to transform the whole village economy and to achieve this, they are to work closely with the village residents themselves and come up with a suitable intervention that helps the local economy to transform as it has been the case in other countries.

Gatsibo village is upbeat over the new electrification project.

He narrated that the company, working closely with Kitobo Island population in Lake Victoria, fishing being the major business done by the natives, they invested in solar powered ice-making machine to provide ice locally to fishermen enabling them to preserve their catch for longer hours yet before they had to sail for 6 hours to locate the ice on the mainland, which was time-consuming, the same model to replicate in Rutenderi village.

Pisanti reckoned, so far so good the approach is happening to single out Singirankabo, Rutenderi a resident who acquired machines worth Rwf 3.2 million and he had only 30 per cent and the rest was provided by the project and since then Singirankabo transformed his life being able to construct his own home valued at Rwf 1.4 million and they will continue to provide working capital to feasible local income generating projects.

Officials cutting the cake.

Meanwhile Fred Mufulukye, Eastern Province Governor cheered on the project, as the vivid evidence of good partnership of government with development partners and the private sector that will help the country to achieve its 2024 target of universal electricity access.

Mufulukye said that the project is not just about lighting: “we should know that it brings opportunities that transform of lives and increase of income like now people are to increase working hours that is going to soar revenue to small businesses.

Officials local government, Absolute Energy and other partners during the ceremony on Thursday.

The project cost short of US$500,000 was partially financed by Endev through its Results-Based Financing facility. Support also came from Energy for Impact (e4i), DFID and Shell Foundation, with whom Absolute Energy is partner.

Absolute Energy has been for long dealing renewable energy generation dating back in 2006 at Deutsche Bank Renewable Energy Principle Finance Team and in 2010 it installed 450MW solar plant in Italy, on the continent its foot is in four countries (Kenya, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Mozambique and now Rwanda) partnering with them to leverage the benefits of renewable energy.

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