Off-grid Energy sources key to Rwanda’s Push for Universal Power Access

The off-grid renewable energy sector has the potential to be one of the key drivers of Rwanda’s growth.

Renewable energy experts say the sector is expanding rapidly, noting that Rwanda has plenty of potential yet to be exploited, particularly for a country gifted with natural resources like sunshine, and a business friendly ecosystem.

“Off-grid systems are particularly useful in hard-to-reach, rural areas where there is high demand for entry level services, such as powering homes and small businesses and phone charging,” Joshua King, MeshPower Rwanda country manager, said.

He added that it is encouraging that the government supports private sector initiatives that provide off-grid solar systems like Meshpower. “Off-grid systems combined with the extension of the national grid will enable the country achieve its target of universal electrification quickly, and more efficiently,” he added.

MeshPower Rwanda is a subsidiary of MeshPower, UK and provides solar-powered nanogrids to communities without access to the national grid in the developing world.

King said the firm supports government initiatives that promote access to green, reliable and affordable energy.

“We look forward to further collaboration… The government is currently supporting MeshPower through the national environment and climate change fund (known by its French acronym, FONERWA,” he said as he announced the firm’s 1,000th customer, adding that nanogrid technology will transform local electricity provision.

A MeshPower solar-powered nanogrid has the capacity to provide electricity to up to 100 different homes and small businesses in a rural village at a time. Each village shares the power generated on solar panels, but every customer has his/her own individual account and can use the electricity to power different equipment.

“Reaching 1,000 customers in Rwanda is an important milestone for MeshPower, but is just the beginning of an even more successful journey. We can deliver inexpensive, green, 24 hour electricity to off-grid customers all over the country opening up economic and social opportunities that have been previously unavailable to them,” King said last week.

He said the firm is currently rolling out its services in Ngoma and Bugesera districts, but noted that they plan to expand to other areas soon.

“We target anyone that wants more than just a solar lantern, because the energy generated is shared on the nanogrid systems, and serves needs of all customers, from individuals in small households to larger shops and bars,” he said.

The MeshPower system provides lighting and phone charging facilities, among others. The firm that opened shop in 2014 currently offers affordable, reliable and clean energy to 45 different villages in the Bugesera District.

Source: The New Times

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