Rwanda signs deal for new solar plant in Kayonza

NEWS

Rwanda signs deal for new solar plant in Kayonza

Rwanda signed a deal Thursday to install a new solar power plant in the Kayonza District.

The plant will add 10 megawatts to the national security grid in the next 21 months, according to all Africa. $30 million (about 20 billion Rwandan francs) will be spent on construction.

Goldsol II, a consortium between three companies, will manage and built the plant. The three companies are TMM Renewables based in South Africa, Gesto Energy Africa based in Malta and the local firm 3E Power Solar.

“We are encouraged by the Government of Rwanda through its economic, privatization and energy development policy that encourages and supports private initiatives and investments in the construction and development of electricity generated plants,” said Nuno Nobrega, managing director of TMM Renewables. “The GoldSol consortium has a track record of investments in Africa that exceeded $800 million. We need to commission this project as soon as possible so we can focus on additional renewable energy projects in Rwanda.”

The country’s economy has grown quickly over the past ten years, but scarce and expensive energy supply has taken a huge toll. Only 16 percent of the population receives electricity from the 120 MW produced by the nation, Reuters Africa reported.

“We are growing much faster than the energy we have,” said Valentine Rugwabiza, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board. “This is very important for business, it is important for rural areas, when people have access to electricity it is the most important way to transform the society.”

The new plant in Kayonza is the second large-scale solar plant. The first is an 8.5 megawatt plant that is under construction in Rwamagana District, Eastern Province, all Africa reported.

“Access to energy brings various benefits at a relatively low cost,” said Emma Francoise Isumbingabo, the state minister for energy and water. “For example, as rural households across Rwanda start using solar powered lights instead of kerosene lamps, we see a number of socioeconomic, health and environmental benefits.”

The Rwanda government plans to investment more in renewable energy projects. The country is also looking to increase power production five-fold from 120 megawatts to 563 megawatts by 2017.