19 May 2017

Rwanda: 12,000 Rural Homes to Access Energy Under New Ignite Power, RNP Deal

Ignite power, a renewable energy firm, and Rwanda National Police (RNP) have signed a partnership deal to connect more than 12,000 rural households to off-grid power solutions.

Cohen Gahire, the Ignite Power business director, said RNP will buy 3,117 solar home systems that will be able to connect and light over 12,000 homes.

Under the deal, Ignite will provide the solar systems, customer service as well as training for Police technicians who will install the systems over the next four weeks, he added.

The project targets rural areas where the security for the local population is compromised due to lack of connectivity to any form of electricity.

RNP officials said the project, which is part of the force's "Give back to the community" programme, will enhance safety in the country and help improve living standards of rural poor.

"Lighting is a basic component of providing a secure environment for the population. Therefore, this partnership is a key component in the national effort to ensure every village in Rwanda is safe," Gahire said on Wednesday.

"Solar power provision has been a game-changer as it can be deployed in remote and rural areas that are not served by the national grid network," he added.

Last year, government and Ignite Power signed an agreement where the firm will inject more than $50 million (about Rwf37 billion) into off-grid power solution for the next five years. The deal provides a framework for large-scale deployment of solar power systems in hard-to-reach rural communities countrywide. Under the programme, beneficiaries pay for the solar systems over a two-year period.

Early this month, the firm won a government tender to supply 15,000 systems to villages across the country, particularly the lowest-income earners who are not connected to any form of electricity, but cannot afford to buy the solar equipment themselves.

The systems come with a radio and have a phone charging provision besides lighting the house, according to Gahire.

The new tender followed another milestone for the company, where Ignite reached record installation time of 500 solar home systems per day under a tender from Electricity Distribution Corporation Ltd.

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