Absolute Energy with support of EnDev successfully installed a solar hybrid mini-grid

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Rwanda 2019/03/27

27 March 2019

This new 50kW hybrid mini-grid in Rutenderi village will enable more than 500 new connections in Rwanda

The proud shop owner powers his sales area with electricity from the solar mini-grid. Photo: ©GIZ/Isabella Troconis

GIZ Isabella Troconis Rwanda 2019 Rutenderi village, electrified shop .jpg The proud shop owner powers his sales area with electricity from the solar mini-grid. Photo: ©GIZ/Isabella Troconis

In partnership with EnDev Rwanda, Absolute Energy (AE) installed a 50kW solar hybrid PV-diesel mini-grid in Rutenderi village, Gatsibo district, Rwanda. This mini-grid has successfully connected 457 households, 36 businesses and 7 social institutions. EnDev has supported the project from proposal development stages to the provision of RBF financing, which is funded by DFID under the EnDev partnership. This is the company’s fist operational mini-grid and it became operational early this year.

AE followed an innovative business model as it incorporated a unique rural development approach within its mini-grid project, which combines the delivery of energy services with business incubation and the development of productive uses of energy and clean water. In doing so, AE has built partnerships with the Interuniversity Centre for Sustainable Development at the University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy, AVSI Foundation and Energy4Impact to identify, create and stimulate growth of local business opportunities such as welding, carpentry and milling.

The solar mini-grid supplies the village with reliable electricity. Photo: © GIZ/Isabella Troconis

Rutenderi village has benefited from the mini-grid installation

To date, AE and partners delivered 1 fridge, 2 popcorn machines and is further expecting to incubate 2 milling companies, a welding business, a tailoring business, a carpentry shop as well as a bakery. By fostering rural development, AE and partners expect to drive energy demand and ensure long-term sustainability of the grid while improving rural livelihoods and increasing financial inclusion.

Alberto Pisanti, CEO of AE, who is a believer of the great potential for off-grid electrification in Rwanda and the rest of the African continent, stated: “after our first experience in Rutenderi, a second mini-grid in Gatoki will be commissioned by the end of March. Many other sites are being developed across the country. AE sees access to productive electricity and other fundamental services as a stepping stone to empower sustainable development. Its comprehensive, holistic approach makes it cheaper, faster and more effective to foster long-term, sustainable growth when compared to the mere extension of the grid.
The family does not only have lighting inside the house but can also illuminate the yard in the front. Photo: © GIZ/Isabella Troconis
The company supplies clean power according to a decentralised model more suitable to local market conditions, while investing in other income-generating activities to support demand and promote the communities' well-being.”

Off-grid electrification will connect many more people in Rwanda in the coming years

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 along with development partners and the private sector are working towards increasing both grid and off-grid electrification efforts.

This bar has increased its sales through cooling its products reliably. Photo: © GIZ/Isabella Troconis