Only 12 months after the official signing of the power purchase agreement (PPA), Gigawatt Global has succeeded in financing, constructing and interconnecting a $23.7 million solar energy plant, culminating in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.
Rwanda's Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. James Musoni, and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Government's Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC), John Morton, will lead the ribbon-cutting on Thursday, February 5, at 12:30pm of the 8.5 MW solar energy field at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), and will be joined by international representatives of the partners that developed the landmark project.
The Rwanda field, constructed in the shape of the African continent, brought together an international consortium of financing partners. Debt was provided by Netherlands Development Finance Co. and the London-based Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund; mezzanine debt provided by Norfund; equity from Scatec Solar ASA (who also served as EPC contractor and serves as O&M provider), Norfund and KLP Norfund Investments.
Grants were received from the United States government via OPIC's Africa Clean Energy Finance grant and from the Energy and Environment Partnership Program, a partnership of the British, Norwegian and Austrian governments. SEDI Labs served as a key project development partner. Norton Rose Fulbright from London served as the international legal counsel.
The Rwandan project is built on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda's most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The Village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village's charitable expenses. Gigawatt Global will also be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village.
Gigawatt Global is one of almost 90 private sector partners involved in the U.S. government's Power Africa Initiative, which is designed to increase access to electricity throughout all of sub-Saharan Africa. By providing creative financing, business development support and commercial advocacy through various U.S. Government agencies, Power Africa represents a new model of development which facilitates the work of its partner companies in developing new energy sources, including wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, and geothermal resources in all of sub-Saharan Africa.
Gigawatt Global's 8.5 MW solar field in Rwanda is the first utility-scale project to reach financial close and come online under the Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) program, which is now an integral part of the Power Africa Initiative.