Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Jules Ndenga has asserted government support of renewable energy as a means to provide cost-effective electricity to rural households.

He emphasises solar power as the ‘ideal’ means for which to power rural households, stating that renewables ease pressure on the national grid and underpins government’s efforts to ensure they gain access to electricity according to the objectives of the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS II).

According to the Infrastructure Minister, government’s target is to increase current installed solar energy capacity from 8.5mw to 10MW under the auspices of the EDPRS II programme. Rwanda’s electricity supply is rooted in hydropower, with generation standing at110MW which is expected to increase to 563MW over the next 3 years. Total installed capacity of 563MW will be a mix of hydro, peat, methane, geothermal and solar power.

Ndenga  spoke at an event which marked Mobisol’s 1,000th home solar system unit installation at the Abajambo Orphange in Nyamata sector, Bugesera District this week. Mobisol, a German solar firm partnered with MTN to supply the solar units to the orphange which had previously run on a 200-watt system comprising 29 lights.

How it works: Mobisol provides the solar units through a ‘micro-finance scheme’, where buyers are able to pay for electricity in affordable instalments via MTN’s Mobile Money.

It is reported that only 18 per cent of Rwandans have access to electricity. Government plans increase this to 70 per cent by 2018, utilising innovative electricity programmes, like that of Mobisol and MTN in providing electricity to the Rwandan population.