A 10MW solar plant worth US$ 20m will be constructed in Rwanda. This will help the country achieve its energy target of 563 MW from 120 MW by the year 2017.
The power plant will be constructed in Kayonza Eastern Province by Goldsol ll and will be completed in a period of 21 months. According to Miguel Barrato representative Goldsol ll, the project will be one of the largest solar plants in East Africa.
Emma Francoise Isumbingabo, the Minister of State in charge of Energy and Water said that the government has a target of increasing the access of electricity to its citizenry by 2020 and that is why it struck a deal with Goldsol ll to carry out the task.
Amb. Valentine Rugwabiza, the CEO of Rwanda Development Board said the country is keen on conservation of the environment and therefore was using an expansive approach that embraces a range of clean energy solutions. On completion the project will serve over 38,800 households. Rwanda is also developing its geothermal and gas energy sources found in the Lake Kivu area.
Although the electricity access level in Rwanda is still low compared to Africa’s and Sub Saharan Africa’s average access rates of 40% and 31% respectively, the country’s electricity access rate has more than tripled from 5% in 2005 to the current access rate of18%.
With the Electricity Access Rollout Programme (EARP) under implementation since 2009, supported by several partners such as the World Bank, JICA and NORDIC FUND among others, coupled with increased generation, access is expected to increase to 70% by 2017.
The planned generation mix by 2017 comprises mainly of peat (255 MW), methane (75 MW), hydro (140MW) and solar (18.5 MW).
The annual average per capita consumption of electricity in the developing world is 1,155 kWh compared to 10,198 kWh in high income countries. Sub Saharan Africa averages 457 kWh, and that figure falls to 124 kWh if South Africa is excluded. In Rwanda the per capita energy consumption is only 41 kWh.