11 January 2014, Kigali – The economic and commercial counsellor’s office of the embassy of the People’s Republic of China, yesterday, handed the Rwandan government solar kit systems in a bid to increase rural electrification.
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, the solar kit systems, estimated at $642,304 (Rwf 430.9m), will be installed in the rural areas of the Southern, Northern and Eastern provinces that are not connected to the national power grid.
“The kits will boost rural electrification and ultimately improve the well-being of the rural population,” said Eng. Emma Francoise Isumbingabo, the state minister in charge of energy and water.
It is expected that at least 400 households, selected based on the five-year National Electrification Plan, will benefit from the project.
Shen Yongxiang, the Chinese ambassador to Rwanda, said the support is in the framework of “Eight New Measures to Strengthen China-Africa Cooperation”, under which China offered to support Rwanda with a batch of solar equipment.
The equipment received consist of solar modules, cabinets, batteries, switchboards, Compact Fluorescent Lamps and light wires.
The ministry said a team of Chinese experts had already been dispatched to train 16 Rwandans on the installation, operation and maintenance of the equipment.
The development comes after over 100 homes in Nyagatare District were installed with solar energy last November in the first phase of the project that will be rolled out across the country.
According to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Infrastructure, the country needs to invest about $3b to increase access to electricity from 17 per cent to 70 per cent by 2018.
The government targets to increase electricity generation from the current 110MW to about 563MW in five years.
*Ben Gasore, The New Times