Norwegian Prime Minister pre-inaugurates East Africa’s first solar plant

The project, East Africa’s first utility-scale solar plant, will increase Rwanda’s power generation capacity by approximately 7%, and will contribute significantly towards the government’s objective to increase fivefold the electricity generation capacity in the country by 2017.  The Prime Minister’s visit marks the start of a test-production period where 25% of the plant will be in operation. The plant will be completed and in full production by August

– We are very happy to be able to realize this first utility scale solar plant in Rwanda, Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar said. – Our objective has been to bring the experience we’ve gained from our large projects in South Africa to other African nations, and we are pleased to team up with our partners in Norfund (and KLP) to introduce large scale solar energy to Rwanda and Eastern Africa. The PPA with the utility, EWSA, was signed in July 2013 and the solar plant is operational only a year later, demonstrating that with the combined efforts of experienced partners and national authorities, solar energy is fast and cost effective to implement, Mr. Carlsen said.

Access to energy is a prerequisite for increased standard of living.  Almost everything we do in a modern world requires energy, and it is fundamental to run a business and create employment opportunities.  The only way we will be able to provide energy in a sustainable way to an increasing global population, is by utilizing renewable energy sources. On this background, this first solar project in Rwanda has been named as example of how emerging economies could be supported in an efficient way.

The Rwanda Minister of State in Charge of Energy and Water, Eng. Emma Francoise Isumbingabo said,
– Generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans is important for the Government of Rwanda. This initiative to produce 8.5 megawatts is a good addition towards closing the current energy gap.

Scatec Solar, the integrated independent solar power producer, has in partnership with Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, and its co-investor KLP, Norway’s largest life insurance company,    and developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, successfully developed, financed and built the solar plant. The plant, which will be operated bu Scatec Solar, is located 60 km from the capital of Kigali, an area well suited for solar energy generation and the annual production is estimated at 15.5 million kWh annually.  The land belongs to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a residential and educational community for youth orphaned during and after the genocide in 1994. ASYV is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village’s charitable expenses.  

All unskilled labor needed for the project has been hired locally and more than 350 workers have received training to work on site during construction. The training educates the local workers in both building PV plants and working under western health and safety standards. The finished plant will generate 20-30 long term employment opportunities.

Norfund/KLP and Scatec Solar will be majority owners in the solar park with Gigawatt Global, who developed the project, maintaining a 20% share in the project.

– An important goal for Norfund has been to increase investments in renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as broadening our portfolio to include more solar power, Kjell Roland, CEO of Norfund said. We are therefore very happy that Scatec Solar wanted to utilize their experience from South Africa in Rwanda, and we look forward to contribute to increased electricity supply in the country, Mr. Roland said.

– We hope and expect that this project will serve a as a catalyst for future sustainable energy projects in the region, Chaim Motzen, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Cooperatief , who led the development of the Project, said.

With limited power generation capacity, the Rwanda Government has introduced an aggressive plan to boost the nation’s generation capacity. The objective is for 50% of the population to have access to electricity by 2017 and increase the installed generation capacity to 560 MW, up from merely 110 MW in 2013. In this context the 8.5 MW solar plant will be a substantial addition and the cost of electricity will be significantly lower than today’s heavy and costly reliance on diesel generation.

 

Contacts in Scatec Solar:

Mr. Raymond Carlsen, CEO            tel  +27 7168 49 964          raymond.carlsen@scatecsolar.com 

Mr. Mikkel Tørud, CFO                   tel: +47 976 99 144            mikkel.torud@scatecsolar.com

About Scatec Solar         ( www.scatecsolar.com)     

Scatec Solar is an integrated independent power producer, aiming to make solar a sustainable and affordable source of energy worldwide. Scatec Solar develops, builds, owns and operates solar power plants, and will in 2014 deliver power from 220 MW in the Czech Republic, South Africa and Rwanda. The company is in strong growth and has a solid pipeline of projects under development in Africa, US, Japan, Middle East and Europe. Scatec Solar is head quartered in Oslo, Norway.

About Norfund                 (www.norfund.no)

Norfund (the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries) is owned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and serves as an instrument in Norwegian development assistance policy. The fund contributes to poverty reduction and economic development through investments in profitable businesses and transfer of knowledge and technology. The current investment portfolio of Norfund totals USD 1.6 billion invested in 120 different projects. Norfund and KLP, Norway’s largest life insurance company, has established a facility for co-investments in renewable energy in Africa.

About Gigawatt Global (http://www.gigawattglobal.com )

Gigawatt Global develops affordable solar projects worldwide, from planning through to implementation, with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020. The company’s vision is for a world in which developing nations will be powered predominantly by clean, safe, affordable, renewable energy. Clean energy will not be a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford, but will be the energy of choice for lifting people in developing countries out of poverty.

Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV)  ( http://www.asyv.org )

The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is a safe and structured residential community for orphaned and vulnerable youth in Rwanda. The Village is a place of hope, where traumatized youth can "dry their tears" (Agahozo) and "live in peace" (Shalom).  The goal is for youth who come to live and learn in the ASYV to grow into healthy adults who are not only able to care for themselves and their families, but who are also committed to making their community, their country, and indeed the world a better place.