Govt signs 8.5MW solar energy deal

Government has sealed a $23 million (Rwf15 billion) energy deal with a Dutch firm to develop an 8.5 Megawatts solar power plant in Rwamagana District,  Eastern Province.
<p>The State Minister for Energy and Water, Emma Fran&ccedil;oise  Isumbingabo (L,  signs a $23 million ( Rwf15 billion) energy agreement with Gigawatt Global&rsquo;s Vice President Ch....

The State Minister for Energy and Water, Emma Françoise Isumbingabo (L, signs a $23 million ( Rwf15 billion) energy agreement with Gigawatt Global’s Vice President Ch....

Government has sealed a $23 million (Rwf15 billion) energy deal with a Dutch firm to develop an 8.5 Megawatts solar power plant in Rwamagana District,  Eastern Province.

The purchasing power agreement was signed yesterday by the Minister of State in Charge of Energy and Water, Eng. Emma Francoise Isumbingabo, and Chaim Motzen, the Vice President, GigaWatt Global, and witnessed by Tony Nsanganira, the Acting Chief Operating Officer of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

GigaWatt Global is a multi-national renewable energy company focused on development and management of utility-scale solar fields in renewable energy in emerging markets.

According to the deal, GigaWatt Global will construct, finance and operate a solar power plant at Agahozo Shalom Youth Village.

 “So far this is the biggest solar energy project we are going to implement in Rwanda.  Previously we have seen mini-solar power plants being developed in several areas of the country,” said Eng. Isumbigabo shortly after penning the agreement in Kigali.

She stated that, the project is timely and very important as the government focuses on generating affordable, reliable and accessible energy for the betterment of the citizens. 

 “The efficiency of solar energy in Rwanda is more than 50 per cent and with operational of 8.5MW by June next year, the government will have taken great steps in bridging the current energy gap,” she said.

The minister hailed GigaWatt Global for honouring their investment plan and pledged support towards ensuring that the project becomes a reality.

According to Motzen, the company is looking forward to generate 8.5 MW within the next 11 months and the construction works will start soon.

“We are going to fully finance the project through equity finances and acquire debts from financial institutions,” he added.    

With over 2,800MW of solar projects under development worldwide, the Dutch firm brings to Rwanda an extensive experience in renewable energy project finance and development.

Two weeks ago, Rwanda signed a Rwf241 billion energy agreement with an Indian company, Punj Lloyd to generate 100 MW of peat energy in North Akanyaru, Bugesera District, Eastern Province.

According to RDB, 40 to 50 per cent of investment projects become operational within one year.

The government unveiled Rwf3 trillion ($4.7bn)-road map for energy production and accessibility over the next five years.

The target is to gradually tap 215MW from peat, 310MW from geothermal, 320MW from hydro power, and 300MW from methane gas, among others.

At the moment the country produces 110.8MW equivalent to 16 per cent in terms of domestic accessibility.  With 1, 000MW, accessibility could reach 70 per cent.

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