Rwanda Investors Plan 10 Megawatts Solar Plant in Kayonza


Rwanda Investors Plan 10 Megawatts Solar Plant in Kayonza

A new solar power plant in Kayonza District is to add 10 megawatts to the national electricity grid in the next 21 months, the government and the investors announced yesterday.

The plant will be built and managed by GoldSol II, a consortium between TMM Renewables, a South Africa-based company, Gesto Energy Africa based in Malta and 3E Power Solar, a local firm.

Construction will cost about $30 million (about Rwf20 billion), and electricity production will begin 21 months from now, according to agreements government signed with the investors yesterday.

“We are encouraged by the Government of Rwanda through its economic, privatisation and energy development policy that encourages and supports private initiatives and investments in the construction and development of electricity generating plants” Nuno Nóbrega, the managing director of TM Renewables said.

“The GoldSol consortium has a track record of investments in Africa that exceeds $800 million. We need to commission this project as soon as possible so we can focus on additional renewable energy projects in Rwanda.

In December 2013, the government announced the GoldSol II had won a tender for the 10 MW solar tender, and by signing the agreement yesterday, both parties (government and the investors) agreed to push for the realisation of the plant within the specified deadline in order to compliment the current energy production by the Water, Energy and Water Sanitation Authority (EWSA).

“As per the agreement, EWSA will be buying electricity from GoldSol at a cost of Rwf120 per kWh. We are pushing for more green energy projects such as solar, hydro and geothermal. We are looking forward to this project and the government encourages more investors in large or micro projects, “Ntare Karitanyi, the Director General of EWSA, said.

“This is going to be possibly the largest solar power plant in East Africa, Ten megawatts are substantial and it is strategic that the plant will be constructed in Eastern Province, which currently has a low supply of electricity.”

The Kayonza plant is the second large-scale solar plant after another 8.5 MW which is under construction in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province, by a joint investment of Dutch Scatec Solar and Norwegian Gigawatt Global Cooperatief.

“Access to energy brings various benefits at a relatively lower cost. For example, as rural households across Rwanda start using solar powered lights instead of kerosene lamps, we see a number of socio-economic, health and environment benefits  “, Emma Francoise Isumbingado, the state minister for energy and water said after the signing.

The government is eager to invest more steadily in renewable energy, and set an objective to increase power production by five-fold from 120 megawatts to 563 megawatts by 2017.

Ongoing power projects include a combined 200 megawatts from methane gas, as well as the development of nine micro hydropower plants.

Hydropower accounts for 59 per cent of the electricity produced in Rwanda while the rest is from fossil fuels.