Rwandan villages linked to off-grid power

A partnership between the Rwandan power utility, Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL) and a local solar power firm, Ignite Power, links hundreds of villagers to off-grid powe

The beneficiaries of the off-grid power include; 500 villagers from Nyagatare District, while 60 are from Rwamagana District.

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In an interview, Yariv Cohen, the director of Ignite Power, explained that an off-grid energy solution is the answer for Rwanda to accomplish its energy ambitions and guarantee sustainable development.

Government is setting up to boost off-grid power generation to 22MW by 2018, up from 8.75MW currently.

Whilst supervising the power connections, Cohen said the nation has the potential to build smart villages, decrease poverty and fast-track all-encompassing growth through off-grid solutions .He noted transparency and a favorable business environment are important to exert a pull on more investors into the energy sector, mainly off-grid solutions.

The managing director of EDCL, Emmanuel Kamanzi, told the press that the company is working with renewable energy corporations to assist in availing Rwandans off-grid electricity.
“With the nationwide goal of boosting off-grid electricity to 22% of the citizens, EDCL works with 24 solar companies to provide electricity in isolated villages that cannot easily be connected on the grid,” Kamanzi said.

He called upon Rwandans to embrace off-grid electricity, saying it is reasonably priced and suitable for small consumers.

“It’s not an obligatory that electricity must be from the grid. We would like to have many households using off-grid electricity instead of waiting for grid extensions,” he said.
According to media, Nyagatare District mayor George Mupenzi said they are working with EDCL to guarantee all inhabitants access power.

Mupenzi said the partnership has assisted in boosting power access for both on-grid and off-grid sources.

On a national level, government is aiming to add access to electricity from the present 25% to 70% by 2018.