Pilot project to build mini-grids in Rwanda under way after receiving financial backing from UK-government funded REPP
Initial phase of work expected to pave way for up to 220 mini-grids in the East African country, reaching up to 150,000 people currently living without any access to clean energy
London, 15 May 2019: Ambitious plans to build 220 mini-grids in Rwanda are on track after the project developers secured a £600,000 convertible loan for a pilot phase from the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP).
UK-based ARC Power Ltd has begun the construction of eight mini-grids in the country’s Bugesera District in what will be the company’s first development in Rwanda.
If the pilot proves successful, ARC Power is likely to attract a substantially larger construction loan from REPP, which is funded by the UK government and managed by Camco Clean Energy, to complete the second and far-reaching phase of the project.
Once completed, the solar PV mini-grids will generate 3.5MW of clean electricity, which is expected to meet the needs of nearly 150,000 people living off-grid in rural Rwanda. The electricity will be offered on a pre-pay, pay-as-you-go basis and will provide A/C power for lighting and mobile charging, as well as radios, TVs and other appliances as additional options to both homes and small businesses across the country.
Currently, Rwanda has an estimated national electrification rate of 30%, and just 12% in rural areas. This project responds directly to the Rwandan government’s big plans for off-grid electrification in the country, which includes the wide-scale rollout of mini-grids as part of an overarching plan to provide universal energy access target by 2026.
Geoff Sinclair, REPP Manager and Managing Director at Camco Clean Energy, said: “Rwanda wants 10% of its energy mix to come from mini-grids by 2026, which represents a huge growth market for this important sector, but also a major infrastructural challenge.
“We are supporting ARC Power to help prove the case for mini-grids in Rwanda and catalyse further interest from the commercial sector to turn those plans into reality.”
Karl Boyce, CEO, ARC Power, said: “Our team at ARC Power have worked tirelessly in preparing for the initial pilot of our unique mini-grid systems in Rwanda. These will deliver significant benefits to the rural population who currently have no access to reliable, clean power.
“We have ambitious plans and securing a partnership with REPP and Camco is an important step to help us achieve our goals. We can now press forward to ensure ARC become the leaders in this sector.”
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The Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) works to mobilise private sector development activity – and investment – in small to medium-sized projects (typically up to 25MW). It is supported with £148m funding from the UK’s International Climate Finance through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and to date, has agreed contracts with 20 renewable energy projects across 14 countries, employing seven different technologies, from SHS and PV mini-grids to biomass and run-of-river hydro. REPP is managed by Camco Clean Energy.
About Camco Clean Energy
Camco Clean Energy is a global leader in sustainable energy projects finance. Its long-established position within Africa’s renewable energy sector enables the company to provide project developers and sponsors with a trusted combination of global access and local presence, enabling them to source the right financing solutions to develop and build projects.
Since formation, it has provided creative finance solutions to 180 projects worth $15bn, and in geographies as diverse as Zambia to Malaysia and the US to Uganda.
About ARC Power Ltd
ARC Power is bringing together proven technologies and supply chain solutions to rapidly deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy to rural households and businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The nature of the company’s mini-grids allows them to scale these up in line with increasing local demand and to ensure that rural communities have the access to power required for them to contribute to economic growth and development.
Frontier-Invest Ltd assisted ARC Power in this project.
About the UK’s International Climate Finance
International Climate Finance is a UK Government commitment to support developing countries to respond to the challenges and opportunities of climate change. As part of this commitment, the UK is providing at least £5.8bn of ICF between 2016-2020, aiming for an even split between mitigation and adaptation. This places the UK amongst the world’s leading providers of climate finance. Programmes are focused on:
- Building the resilience of the poorest people and communities
- Ensuring that the vast expansion in infrastructure in developing countries is low-carbon
- Halting deforestation