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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

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Israeli-Dutch partnership financing solar plant in Rwanda

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An Israeli company is partnering with a Dutch solar developer to finance the building of an 8.5 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Rwanda. The plant would increase Rwanda's power generation capacity by about eight  per cent.

Israel's Energiya Global Capital provided the initial funding and strategic consultation to Dutch company Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, which has closed on $23.7 million in financing for the plant. Other investors and funders include Norwegian development finance institution Norfund, Norwegian-headquartered Scatec Solar, Dutch development bank FMO, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.  

The plant will be built about 60 kilometres from Kigali, Rwanda, on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, for youths orphaned due to the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Rwanda will receive electricity from the plant through its national grid, via the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority. Construction on the plant has started, and the plant is expected to begin operating by this summer.

“It takes a global village to raise a solar revolution,” said American-Israeli entrepreneur and human rights activist Yosef Abramowitz, president of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global Capital.

“There are 550 million people in Africa without electricity. Economic growth in developing markets depends on access to affordable, green power. Environmentally friendly solar energy is far less expensive than diesel-generated power. This first-ever utility-scale solar field in Rwanda –and all of East Africa – represents the future of energy for developing countries and for island nations. It is a game-changer for humanity and the environment.”

The government of Rwanda is working to get access to electricity for 50 per cent of its population by 2017.

Israeli President Shimon Peres, said, “as a pioneer in its sector and region, the solar field to be established in the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is an important stride in our mission for Tikkun Olam – making the world a better place.

“This wonderful initiative will serve as a shining beacon of hope and progress for humanity, and as an example of what Israel can contribute to the developing world. In the hope that Israeli renewable energy expertise can continue to serve developing communities around the world, I wish the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village much success on behalf of the State of Israel."

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