Mubuga

An 8.67MWp solar PV power plant is improving the energy supply in Burundi and has boosted the country's generation capacity by 10%

Burundi’s first solar PV power plant has reached commercial operation.

Located in Mubuga in the Gitega Province, the project – which is the country’s first grid-connected solar project by an independent power producer (IPP) – has made a meaningful contribution to Burundi’s generation capacity. It has also increased Burundi’s resilience to climate change and improved its energy security by diversifying its energy mix to include solar, since the country currently relies largely on hydropower which is increasingly affected by droughts and imported diesel for gensets.

The project was developed as a public-private partnership between the Government of Burundi and developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief (Gigawatt) and has already paved the way for other renewable energy projects in the country. REPP has supported the development of the Mubuga project since December 2016, culminating in a construction bridge loan (alongside Evolution II Fund, managed by Inspired Evolution Investment Management) and a subordinated term loan.

Commercial operation was achieved in 2021 following a series of delays due to COVID-19, and it is estimated that the plant is now supporting the electricity needs of approximately 90,000 people and businesses through the improved stability of the local distribution network. Around 190 temporary time jobs were created during construction, of which around a half were held by women, and eight long-term jobs during the ongoing operational phase.

As the first of its kind in Burundi, the project has a strong demonstration impact, building capacity within government and strengthening political buy-in and support for small-scale utility renewables, thereby establishing a more viable market for renewable energy projects in the country.

In May 2023, President of Burundi Évariste Ndayishimiye took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony at the solar field, during which he and Gigawatt Global announced their intention to double the generating capacity near the currently operating site.

Funding structure

Contracted date: 7 December 2016
Lending type: Development finance
REPP funding: Undisclosed

Contracted date: 17 December 2019
Lending type: Construction finance and subordinated loan
REPP funding: Undisclosed

 

Watch Gigawatt Global's Mubuga launch video

The scale of impact the Mubuga project will have on ordinary people’s lives and businesses cannot be overestimated, and in the process will mark the dawn of a new era for renewable energy in Burundi. REPP’s support has made this possible. The project will be the model that will be followed by other foreign investors and will raise the image of Burundi for long-term investment by international financiers.
- Honourable Jean Jacques Nyenimigabu, former MP from Mubuga
“Today’s celebration of Burundi’s first grid-connected solar farm follows an extraordinary international effort to increase renewables and climate finance in one of the world’s most vulnerable countries. This pioneering solar project, proudly supported through UK international climate finance, has increased Burundi’s generation capacity by over 10% and is helping propel the country towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.”
- Omar Daair, UK Ambassador to Burundi