Efforts to light up Africa through off grid solutions have gained momentum, thanks to the new deal inked between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and International Solar Alliance.
Hott Amadou, the Bank’s vice president in charge of power, energy, climate and green growth said the deal is designed to help scale up solar energy in Africa.
According to the deal signed yesterday in India, both the Bank and ISA will jointly support technical assistance and knowledge transfer for solar development and deployment in sun-shine rich African countries.
The duo will partner and construct 10,000 MW of solar power systems across the Sahel, an initiative expected to provide electricity to more than 250 million people.
“Both parties will also develop finance instruments for off-grid solar projects, as well as large-scale solar independent power producers for African ISA member countries,” Amadou said in a statement obtained by The New Times.
As part of the new agreement, ISA will support the African Development Bank’s Desert to power solar initiative – through which the bank intends to turn Africa’s deserts into new sources of energy.
“This signing is an important milestone for the Bank in its efforts to lead the continent’s transformation towards sustainable energy, through the use of solar technologies, and in its bid to reach universal access to energy in Africa,” he added.
New initiative to boost solar energy in Rwanda
Meanwhile, on Rwanda’s front, government this week signed a deal with Mara Corporation Ltd and SB Energy Corp to boost solar energy and universal access to affordable electricity.
The agreement is aimed at the development of a 30 MW Solar Power with a storage facility project in Rwanda.
The parties agreed to coordinate support and initiate a solar power project development with storage facility.
This is expected to boost access to electricity through off grid solutions.
In Rwanda off grid solutions contribute about 11 per cent of Megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
Presently, about 42 per cent of the population has access to power both on-grid and off-grid.
The plan according to Eng. Ron Weiss, the Rwanda Energy Group (REG) chief executive officer is to ensure 100 per cent access to affordable and reliable electricity in the next seven years.
REG’s strategy is to focus more on the off-grid solutions to achieve this objective, according to Eng Weiss. “The off-grid solutions are essential given the nature of geographical settlement. Besides, most households consume a lot of energy and, therefore, it is better that they are connected via off-grid.”
Last year, the government revised a power rollout plan and embraced a new strategy that seeks to provide power to the entire Kigali city in the next two years and the whole country in the next seven years.
Under the 7-5-2 plan, REG targets to connect all the households by 2024, while the productive users will have power by 2022, and the capital city in the next two years.
The cost of on-grid is higher, at about $700 per connection while that of off-grid is only $65, making it more reasonable for low power users to embrace off-grid solutions.
Already, REG has unveiled a power roll out strategy that will ensure the country realises its power goals and connect all Rwandans to either the national grid or off-grid power sources. To achieve these objectives, it will require strong and public-private sector partnerships.