Prime Minister Erna Solberg switches on test production in Norwegian solar power plant in Rwanda

On 3 July, Prime Minister Erna Solberg switched on test production at a solar photovoltaic power plant in Rwanda, which has been built and funded by Norwegian actors. The plant has a production capacity of 8.5 MW, and is the first utility-scale solar PV park in East Africa. At present, under one in five households in Rwanda have access to electricity, and this will increase the country’s production capacity considerably.

On 3 July, Prime Minister Erna Solberg switched on test production at a solar photovoltaic power plant in Rwanda, which has been built and funded by Norwegian actors. The plant has a production capacity of 8.5 MW, and is the first utility-scale solar PV park in East Africa. At present, under one in five households in Rwanda have access to electricity, and this will increase the country’s production capacity considerably.

‘Access to electricity is crucial for economic growth and development in Rwanda, as it is in the rest of Africa. Schoolchildren need electricity so that they can do their homework, and electricity is essential for better health services, communications, and for growth in the business sector. To put it simply, without electricity there can be no development,’ said the Prime Minister when she switched on test production at the plant.

The Norwegian company Scatec Solar has built the power plant. When it is completed, it will boost power generation capacity in Rwanda by about 8 %. The project has been funded by KLP and Norfund (Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries). The Dutch company Gigawatt Global is also a partner in the project. Scatec Solar will operate the plant, which will feed electricity into the national grid. The price will be lower than for electricity generated from diesel oil.

‘It is inspiring to see such a successful private-public partnership in the field of renewable energy. My Government is encouraging private sector involvement and private-public partnerships as part of its development policy. In addition, energy for all is an important goal in the fight against poverty. Energy must be affordable, energy supplies must be reliable, and last but not least, energy must be climate-friendly. Solar energy can be an important alternative to hydropower and other sources of renewable energy in Africa,’ said Ms Solberg.

Ms Solberg visited Rwanda on 2–3 July in connection with her efforts to advance progress towards the Millennium Development Goals on poverty. Ms Solberg and Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame are co-chairs of the Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group.