International consortium to build massive solar field in Rwanda

The Associated Press 1

JERUSALEM – A Dutch company said Monday it has begun construction of a solar field in Rwanda in what it said would be the first such large-scale project in eastern Africa.

Gigawatt Global Coopereratief said it had closed the $23.7 million financing for the project and that construction began last week.

Yosef Abramowitz, president of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global Capital, Gigawatt’s Israeli affiliate, said the 8.5 megawatt project will provide 8 per cent of Rwanda’s electricity. It is expected to go online this summer.

Rwanda, like many parts of Africa, suffers from dire shortages of electricity. The government aims to bring electricity to 50 per cent of the population by 2017.

Abramowitz said the project is “proof positive” that building a utility-scale solar field in Africa is feasible. “We believe in power for the people who need it most. Now we’ve shown it’s commercially viable,” he said.

Consortium members include the Norwegian government’s development fund Norfund, Norwegian-based Scatec Solar, Dutch development bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. It also includes grant money from the British, Finnish, Austrian and American governments.

The field is being built on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a facility built for youth orphaned by the 1994 Rwandan genocide and modeled after an Israeli post-Holocaust orphanage.

One comment on “International consortium to build massive solar field in Rwanda

  1. Yes it sure is commercially viable when it is funded by Norwegian government’s development fund Norfund and GRANTS from the British, Finnish, Austrian and American governments. How “commercially viable” would it be without these gift funds? Let’s see how long it stays “viable” after it starts operating and then it runs into problems with the inverters or batteries and no one can find or afford the parts to fix it. It reminds me of all the broken down heavy construction equipment that you see strewn across the developing world because the first time that it broke down and couldn’t be repaired it is just simply abandoned to rust away where it lies .

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