Rwanda: New 8.5mw solar plant to ease pressure on EWSA

Yosef-fields22 February 2014, Kigali – Rwanda’s power generation will be increased by at least 8.5 mega watts (MW) by the end of this year, a development that will ease pressure on utility body, Energy Water and Sanitation Authority, EWSA.

A solar-powered plant with a capacity of generating 8.5MW is currently under construction by a joint investment of Dutch Scatec Solar and Norwegian Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, worth $23.7m (Rwf16b) at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, Rwamagana District.

Once the project is completed towards the end of this year, the plant will sell electricity to the government as per the 25-year agreement between the investors and EWSA.

“We expect the solar plant to be completed before the end of this year. The investors will sell a kilowatt hour at $16.5 to EWSA, which will then be channelled onto the national power grid,” James Twesigye, the in charge of solar energy at EWSA told The New Times yesterday.

“The government is seeking for independent power producers in order to cut down the costs involved in producing electricity. This is the first of many to come.

“We are currently doing studies on the construction of another 10MW solar plant in Rwinkwavu, Kayonza District. Once we complete the research, we shall invite potential investors.”

The new plant is expected to be the first utility-scale PV plant in East Africa.

The government is eager to invest more steadily in renewable energy, and has set itself the objective of a five-fold increase in renewable sources of power by 2017.

Environmentalists welcomed the news as a step in the right direction, pointing at the benefits of clean energy to environment protection.

Green energies like solar and wind do not have a negative impact on the environment and are more reliable than hydrothermal since they do not rely on water levels to be productive all year round. Such initiatives are efficient and are the best way to go,” Francis Kayumba, an environmentalist said.

Agahozo-Shalom was founded by the late Anne Heyman, who died earlier this month in a horse-riding accident, to take care of the orphans of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

The government set an ambitious target to increase its current electricity grid capacity from 110mw to 563MW by 2017.
*Ivan R. Mugisha – The new Times

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