Light islands
This week the multinational renewable energy company Gigawatt Global inaugurated a solar street lighting project, which now electrifies Bujumbura city, in Burundi.

According to a company statement, the light islands project in Bujumbura is produced by a team that includes local members, Patrick Nzintunga, Gigawatt Global regional coordinator, and an engineer from the company, Deo Hugere.

The company’s CEO, Josef Abramowitz, said: “Over 95% of Burundi’s 11 million people lack access to electricity. Gigawatt Global is honoured to play a role in advancing economic and social development through green power in the country.

“By expanding our investments from commercial scale projects to include off-grid installations, we are positively impacting the lives of millions of people in Burundi and throughout Africa, and are becoming a leading force in green energy projects across the continent.”

The city’s Mayor, Freddy Mbonimpa, also commented: “This project will enhance security as well as provide opportunities for economic development to the citizens of Bujumbura. It is the hope and wish of all involved that this project can spread throughout the city, as well as expand to other cities in Burundi within the near future.”

Light islands programme

The solutions provider revealed to be in discussions to scale the solar-powered ‘light islands’ programme throughout the city and in other major Burundian towns.

Managing director of Gigawatt Global Burundi, Michael Fichtenberg, commented: “We are grateful and pleased to work with the city of Bujumbura, and the Honorable Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa to realise this important first step of the solar street lighting project.” Read more…

“We intend to expand throughout the capital and to other locations as part of our larger programme of green electrification in Burundi, with 40 ‘light islands’ planned in the first phase of the programme,” Fichtenberg added.

He continued: “Every country in which we develop commercial scale solar fields will receive additional benefits like these ‘light islands’ and rural electrification with mini-grids.”

The company stated that it is currently working on completing a 7.5MW solar field in the Gitega region of Burundi in the next six months, which will supply 15% of the East African country’s generation capacity.