Mobisol Rwanda, Energy Development Corporation Limited and the European Union have entered a partnership that will see 49,000 households and 1,000 schools get solar energy.
The four-year programme is being implemented by Mobisol in collaboration with the Energy Development Corporation Limited (EDCL), a subsidiary of the Rwanda Energy Group (REG), according to Alex Ruzigura, the Mobisol marketing manager.
Ruzigura explained that the beneficiaries of the project will be able to acquire subsidised solar systems, with an option of paying for the equipment in instalments for a period of over 36 months.
“The beneficiaries will pay a flat fee for three-years,” Ruzigura added during an interview with The New Times Rwanda.
Ruzigura further stated that the firm will verify the capacity of would-be beneficiaries. The aim is to ensure they make timely payments for the solar systems as this will ensure the project is sustainable to benefit more people in the long run.
“We will accept payments of as little as Rwf100 to ease the credit burden,” Ruzigura said, adding that beneficiaries will be able to remit their instalments using mobile money transfer services.
Officials expect the project to significantly boost the ongoing rural electrification programme. The Rwandan Government plans to increase off-grid power generation to about 22MW by 2018, up from 8.75MW presently, solar energy being one of the proposed alternatives.
The country relies on hydro-power, which accounts for 97.37MW of electricity, while thermal energy contributes 51.7MW, and methane gas, 3.6MW. Powering more households using solar is expected to ease pressure on the national grid and ensure there is enough power for industrial use.
The government has scrapped value added tax (VAT) and customs duties on solar equipment, according to Ruzigura. This, he explained, will help reduce the cost of solar energy equipment and attract more investors into the sector. This is important if the government is to attain its goal of generating 563MW of power by 2018 to increase access to electricity, especially in the rural areas.