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A new solar hybrid mini-grid was officially launched in Rutenderi, Rwanda

Launch ceremony in Rutenderi. Credit: Isabella Troconis, GIZ

Absolute Energy together with EnDev Rwanda celebrates the official launch of a hybrid mini-grid in Gatsibo district.

Rwanda, May 16 2019 – Absolute Energy (AE) with the support of EnDev Rwanda, implemented by GIZ, celebrated the official launch of their 50kW solar PV and storage hybrid mini-grid in Rutenderi Village, Gatsibo district, Rwanda.

The walking tour and ribbon cutting ceremony in the mini-grid site marked the beginning of the official commissioning. It was followed by a walking tour where participants had the chance to see the installation and chat with some of the beneficiaries. Representatives from AE, EnDev Rwanda, Urwego Bank as well as local authorities gave speeches explaining their role in the design and implementation of the solar hybrid mini-grid. The governor of Eastern Province Mr. Fred Mufulukye attended as the guest of honor to the launch.

The 50kW mini-grid in Rutenderi was completed by AE in December 2018 and started running in January this year. This mini-grid has successfully connected 457 households, 36 businesses and 7 social institutions, following a holistic approach that integrates electrification with other rural development projects that stimulate demand and business incubation, ensuring the long-term sustainability of the project.

Rural electrification that helps boost entrepreneurship

Official commissioning of Absolute Energy’s Rutenderi mini-grid. Credit: Isabella Troconis, GIZ

During welcome remarks, AE CEO Alberto Pisanti declared: “our mission is to deliver productive energy to empower sustainable development […] If we do not ensure that the energy we deliver is used to increase productivity, to put our customers on a path to prosperity and improve their lives, we are missing the real opportunity here: the positive transformation of our customer base, our community”.

EnDev Rwanda Country Manager Phillippe Lempp, stated: “we are very happy to support Absolute Energy in the official commissioning of the Rutenderi minigrid. It is precisely this kind of project that bring up life prospects to families who need it the most, that motivate us to work every day […] I also want to take the opportunity to highlight the key role played by DFID, who is the main donor of the Results-Based Financing Facility in Rwanda”.

EnDev has technically and financially supported this project through its Results-Based Financing (RBF) Village Grid project. The RBF is an incentive payment scheme that supports private sector market actors in the low-carbon off-grid energy sector in developing countries.

A walk through the Rutenderi mini-grid followed by speech. Credit: Isabella Troconis, GIZ

The Government of Rwanda (GoR) aims to provide universal electricity access to all Rwandan households by 2024, but the investment requirements to meet this goal are enormous. To overcome this hurdle, the GoR together with development partners and the private sector are working towards increasing both grid and off-grid electrification efforts.

About the developer

Absolute Energy is an independent investment platform fully dedicated to renewable energies, with an aggregate track record of over 3 GW developed in different renewable energy technologies (solar PV, CSP, wind, biomass and hydro) throughout Europe. Since 2013, the company has established a presence in Africa, with two hybrid solar mini-grids in Kitobo and Bukasa islands in Lake Victoria, Uganda, and two in Rwanda, in Rutenderi and Gatoki, and continues to explore other opportunities across the continent. AE believes that technological advances and the modularity of the solar technology are making de-centralised models the most sensible alternative today, allowing electrification at a faster pace and at a fraction of the cost of a grid extension.

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