Press Release Date: February 23, 2014
Wising Century Solartech has once again involved with Scatec Solar, partnering with Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, to construct a $23.7 million, 8.5 megawatt solar energy park in Rwanda.
The project, the first such utility-scale solar plant in East Africa, will increase the country’s power generating capacity by nearly 8%, and contribute on a large scale towards the government’s aims of increasing the electricity generation capacity in the country fivefold by 2017. The PV Park will be situated some 60km from the nation’s capital of Kigali, with the area being well suited for solar energy generation and annual production for it estimated at 16 million kWh. The electricity will feed into the national power grid as part of a 25 year power purchasing agreement signed with the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA). Construction is scheduled to begin immediately and commercial operation is expected to be in effect by this summer.
Capital investment for the massive project has been arranged through FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, along with the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund and Norfund, with Scatec Solar and Norfund being majority owners in the solar park along with project developer Gigawatt Global maintaining a 20% share in the project. SolarTech Energy which will be providing both components an infrastructure management to the project and will hold a minority position in the park of 6.5% “We are of course very happy to be involved in this valuable exercise, the first utility scale PV project not only in Rwanda but East Africa as a whole. We are pleased to be working alongside Scatec, Norfund, FMO and EAIF to introduce large scale solar energy to this region and with the project we expect to show that by working with experienced partners in conjunction with national authorities, that solar energy is both fast and economical to introduce,” announced Raymond Ho, CEO of SolarTech Energy in a statement regarding his company’s role in the large scale project.
Faced with extremely limited power generating capacity, the Rwanda Government has formulated an aggressive plan to increase dramatically the country’s generation capacity, with aims to supply 50% of the population with access to electricity by 2017 in addition to increases of installed generation capacity to 560MW, from the current 110MW capacity. To this end the construction and introduction to the nations grid of a 8.5MW solar PV plant will allow for a clean power addition with the cost of electricity significantly lowered from that of created by diesel generation.