The New Times (Kigali)

Rwanda: Rubona Solar to Add 8.5mw to National Grid Next Month

At least 8.5 megawatts of solar energy will be added to the national power grid next month after the completion of a solar power system in Rubona Sector, Rwamagana District.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, who toured the facility on Wednesday, said the country was on track in its efforts to improve provision of renewable energy development through solar energy.

Prof. Lwakabamba said Rwanda was on the right path for further renewable energy development through solar energy.

Addressing residents, Lwakabamba said energy was a top priority for the country.

"The plant will boost the country's total grid-connected capacity. We shall continue our efforts to grow solar energy in the country."

"It is good that construction works are complete. We need power to speed up development," he said.

The construction of the plant started in February this year.

The Government launched the five-year Rwanda Electricity Access Roll out Programme (EARP) in 2009 to scale up power production.

The medium term goal of EARP I was to increase electricity connections from 110,000 in 2009 to 350,000 by the end of 2012, and eventually to 1,700,000 households by 2017, an equivalent of 70 per cent of the total households in the country.

Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA) officials said usage of solar energy was generally low with only a tenth of the country's energy coming from solar power.

James Twesigye, the head of solar energy at EWSA, said solar power generation has emerged as one of the most rapidly growing renewable sources of electricity.

"The addition of 8.5MW will not only benefit Rwamagana residents but the whole country," he said.

Until 2004, Rwanda depended on a single energy source - hydropower - whose limited capacity was attributed to lack of investment in the sector in the past years.

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