Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that the building of East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Rwanda is symbolic and a great vote of confidence in the country. Tony Blair, who is the founder and patron of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) was visiting the plant yesterday.
It is ground-breaking in terms of how you do these solar projects. It is really important investment and a great international collaboration.
Rwamagana Solar Power plant will provide power to over 15,000 Rwandan households and add almost 6 percent to the country’s total energy supply.
Tony Blair describes the plant as “a good example of what Rwanda can be.” He adds that it is a signal for other investors, because it’s been facilitated by the government working fast to make the investment happen. “People know that when they come to Rwanda they can invest, without corruption,” he remarked.
“This is a good example of what Rwanda can be,” Tony Blair said.
The $23m project, which adds 8.5MW to the national grid, was Rwanda’s first competitive process for private investment in the energy sector.
It is situated on land owned by Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village’s charitable expenses. As part of the visit, Tony Blair also spoke to young people at the Village.
The Government of Rwanda, through the Ministry of Infrastructure, signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Gigawatt Global Rwanda to build, operate and maintain the on-grid solar power plant for a period of 25 years. The plant is comprised of 28,600 solar photovoltaic modules each with 300Wp (Watt-peak), eight inverters and is connected to the national grid.
The solar plant makes up just over five percent of Rwanda’s current total energy generation capacity of 155 MW. The objective is to increase the country’s total installed generation capacity to 563 MW by 2017/18. This will be achieved through ongoing and future investments in hydro, peat, methane gas, and solar and other power generation options.
AGI has worked with the Government of Rwanda since 2008. Our team has been providing support to central institutions within the Government of Rwanda such as the Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Office, the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS) and the Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Infrastructure. We are supporting the systems and structures of effective government, so that the lives of millions of Rwandans who live in poverty can be improved.