East Africa's first utility-scale solar plant comes online

East Africa’s first utility-scale solar photovoltaic power plant came online this week in Rwanda.

The 8.5 MW Rwanda Field plant was constructed in the shape of the African continent and sits on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village charity, which houses Rwanda’s orphaned children. It is expected to produce enough power for 15,000 households.

Funded through the Power Africa Initiative backed by US President Barack Obama, the $23.7m project was built by Netherlands-based solar developer Gigawatt Global.

“Our project proves the viability of financing and building large-scale solar fields in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Chaim Motzen, the firm’s managing director.  

“We hope that this solar field serves as a catalyst for many more sustainable energy projects in the region,” he added.

His company plans to offer training in solar power to students at the high school on the property.

According to the International Energy Agency, global solar capacity is set to hit 930 GW by 2040.

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