“Rwanda has a good solar resource. The average cooler ambient temperatures improve the output of the PV panels.”

Riaan MeyerExclusive interview with Riaan Meyer, CEO, GeoSUN and speaker at the upcoming iPAD Rwanda Power & Infrastructure Forum taking place in November in Kigali.

Let’s start with some background on Geosun Africa, and your company’s specific expertise?
We formed out of the Centre for Renewable and Sustainable Energy Studies (CRSES) at Stellenbosch University (near Cape Town in South Africa) in 2012.

We specialise in solar resource related services: onsite solar measurements and assessments, PV Yield reports, site selection and plant layout, independently monitoring of PV projects, etc.

Any current projects that you are particularly excited about at the moment?
The World Bank is funding renewable, including solar mapping projects in various African countries. All the data and detailed maps will be in the public domain and aims to speed up the development of plants.

And specifically in Rwanda?
Rwanda has good potential for solar, but especially rooftop solar and solar water pumping.

How suitable is Rwanda for solar energy?
Rwanda has a good solar resource. The average cooler ambient temperatures improve the output of the PV panels.

In your view, what are the main challenges currently for the power and infrastructure sector in this country?
The rapid economic growth and resulting increased need for power and infrastructure. Most infrastructure including power plants takes a few years to build.

What is the good news?  Is Rwanda a good investment destination?
Solar plants, even utility scale size, can be deployed relatively quickly.

What advice would you give prospective investors?
Through my experience business in Africa is about strong relationships and spending time in the country of investment.

What will be your message at the iPAD Rwanda event in November?
I am excited to see how the country has grown and changed over the past year. I am excited about Rwanda’s future.

Anything you would like to add?
Rwanda has quite a large portion of its power coming from hydro. This makes a good match, from a network operating perspective, for deploying solar PV and wind which is more intermittent in its supply.