Scatec Solar, the global solar energy provider, have in partnership with Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and Dutch developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief, successfully closed on $23.7 million in financing on an 8.5 megawatt solar photovoltaic (PV) solar park in Rwanda. The project, East Africa’s first utility-scale solar plant, will increase the country’s power generation capacity by approximately 8%, and will contribute significantly towards the government’s objective to increase fivefold the electricity generation capacity in Rwanda by 2017.
The PV plant will be located 60 km from the capital of Kigali on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a residential and educational community for youth orphaned during and after the genocide in 1994. The area is well suited for solar energy generation and annual production is estimated at 16 million kWh. The electricity will be fed into the national grid under a 25 year power purchase agreement with the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA). Construction will start immediately and commercial operation of the park is expected by this summer.
The capital investment for the project will be financed through FMO, the Dutch Development Bank, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund and and Norfund, all three institutions with long experience from investing in developing countries including Rwanda. Scatec Solar and Norfund will be majority owners in the solar park with project developer Gigawatt Global maintaining a 20 % share in the project
– We are very happy to be able to realize this first utility scale PV project in Rwanda, Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar said. – At the end of last year, we grid connected the first utility scale solar park in Southern Africa. The 75 MW Kalkbult solar park is currently the largest in Africa. Our objective has been to bring the experience gained in South Africa to other African nations, and we are pleased to team up with Norfund, FMO and EAIF and introduce large scale solar energy to Eastern Africa. The PPA with EWSA was signed in July 2013 and the PV plant will be operational by July 2014, so through this project we will demonstrate that with the combined efforts of experienced partners and national authorities, solar energy is fast and cost effective to build, Mr. Carlsen said.
– FMO is very proud to have arranged the Senior Debt package for this true frontier transaction with such large development impact, which provides renewable energy to a country with urgent electricity needs, Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO says. – Also in terms of fast execution this project is remarkable, as we rarely see energy projects coming into the construction phase so fast, Mrs. Broekhuizen said.
With limited power generation capacity, the Rwanda Government has introduced an aggressive plan to boost the nation’s generation capacity. The objective is for 50 % of the population to have access to electricity by 2017 and the installed generation capacity increased to 560 MW, up from merely 110 MW in 2013. In this context the 8.5 MW solar PV plant will be a substantial and clean power addition and the cost of electricity will be significantly lower than today’s heavy and costly reliance on diesel generation.
The Rwanda Minister of State in Charge of Energy and Water, Eng. Emma Francoise Isumbingabo said,
-Generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans is important for the Government of Rwanda. This initiative to produce 8.5 megawatts is a good addition towards closing the current energy gap.
– An important goal for Norfund has been to increase investments in renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as broadening our portfolio to include more solar power, Kjell Roland, CEO of Norfund said. We are therefore very happy that Scatec Solar wanted to utilize the experiences from South Africa in Rwanda, and we look forward to contribute to increased electricity supply in the country, Mr. Roland said.
Reflecting its dedication to help healing the world, Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village fostered the development of the solar plant, located on village property. ASYV is leasing land to house the solar facility and the fees will help pay for a portion of the village’s charitable expenses.
Mr Raymond Carlsen, CEO, Scatec Solar SA, tel + +27 7168 49 964 [email protected]
Mr. Sven Rost, VP Communications, tel: +47 932 53 196 [email protected]
About Scatec Solar ( www.scatecsolar.com)
Scatec Solar is a leading, globally acting, independent solar energy provider, focusing on making solar power attractive and affordable to customers and investors worldwide. The company masters the complete downstream value chain of the PV business, including project development, finance, engineering, construction and operation and maintenance. The company is also an Independent Power Producer (IPP) through ownerships in a number of solar PV parks, all developed, built and operated by the company itself.
Scatec Solar has a clear focus on large, utility scaled installations and the instinct to be a first mover in emerging PV markets. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, the company is present in a number of countries and geographies and has a rapidly expanding track-record of more than 300 MW PV installations in regions with excellent solar irradiation and high return on investments. Our objective is to establish PV as a sustainable and lucrative source of energy all over the world
About Norfund ( www.norfund.no )
Norfund (the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries) is owned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and serves as an instrument in Norwegian development assistance policy. The fund contributes to poverty reduction and economic development through investments in profitable businesses and transfer of knowledge and technology. The current investment portfolio of Norfund totals USD 1.6 billion invested in 117 different projects.
About Gigawatt Global ( http://www.gigawattglobal.com )
Gigawatt Global develops affordable solar projects worldwide, from planning through to implementation, with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020. The company’s vision is for a world in which developing nations will be powered predominantly by clean, safe, affordable, renewable energy. Clean energy will not be a luxury that only wealthy nations can afford, but will be the energy of choice for lifting people in developing countries out of poverty.
FMO Dutch Development Bank ( https://www.fmo.nl )
FMO (the Netherlands Development Finance Company) is the Dutch development bank. FMO supports sustainable private sector growth in developing and emerging markets by investing in ambitious entrepreneurs. FMO believes a strong private sector leads to economic and social development, empowering people to employ their skills and improve their quality of life. FMO focuses on three sectors that have high development impact: financial institutions, energy, and agribusiness, food & water. With an investment portfolio of EUR 6.3 billion, FMO is one of the largest European bilateral private sector development banks.
Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) ( http://www.emergingafricafund.com )
The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) is a Public Private Partnership providing long-term USD or EUR debt to finance the construction and development of private infrastructure in 47 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. EAIF provides between US$ 10 million to US$ 35 million to fund projects across a wide range of industries including telecoms, transport, water and power. While EAIF lends on commercial terms, it aims to support projects that promote economic growth and reduce poverty, benefit broad-based population groups, address issues of equity and participation, and promote social, economic and cultural rights. As of January 2014, EAIF has invested over USD 900 million in 45 projects.
Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV) ( http://www.asyv.org )
The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is a safe and structured residential community for orphaned and vulnerable youth in Rwanda. The Village is a place of hope, where traumatized youth can “dry their tears” (Agahozo) and “live in peace” (Shalom). The goal is for youth who come to live and learn in the ASYV to grow into healthy adults who are not only able to care for themselves and their families, but who are also committed to making their community, their country, and indeed the world a better place.