In a partnership including multiple companies spanning across the globe, an Israeli-American solar energy activist is working with a Dutch solar developer to bring East Africa’s first utility-scale solar field to Rwanda.
The field, which successfully secured $23.7 million in financing this week, is slated to be built on land owned by Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a residential community in rural Rwanda for genocide orphans.
“It takes a global village to raise a solar revolution,” entrepreneur and human rights activist Yosef Abramowitz said in a press release. Abramowitz is President of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global Capital, the company’s Israeli affiliate which has been instrumental in the Rwanda project.
“There are 550 million people in Africa without electricity. Economic growth in developing markets depends on access to affordable, green power. Environmentally-friendly solar energy is far less expensive than diesel-generated power. This first-ever utility-scale solar field in Rwanda – and all of East Africa – represents the future of energy for developing countries and for island nations. It is a game-changer for humanity and the environment.”
Indeed, early estimates hope the new 8.5-megawatt solar energy plant will be able to increase Rwanda’s power supply by close to 8 percent, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The deal is also a win for the Jewish-sponsored youth village, which will use income earned from the leasing of the land to help fund its charitable endeavors and provide training opportunities for the village’s inhabitants, according to JTA.
The project was announced in Jerusalem at a press briefing, notes ISRAEL21c. With a few kilowatts of solar energy installed on a trial basis last February, the new plant is expected to be running and connected to Rwanda’s grid by the summer, according to ISRAEL21c.
Speaking with the news site, Abramowitz said his company Energiya Global Capital was following something called the “triple bottom line formula.”
“It’s a social impact model of how for-profit green energy business can bring humanitarian and environmental benefits,” Abramowitz said, adding that he has big future plans for the region. “We are hoping to deploy a billion dollars worth of solar energy in the next three to five years in developing countries to kill diesel use.”