This new 50kW hybrid mini-grid in Rutenderi village will enable more than 500 new connections in Rwanda.
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 andEnergy4Impact to identify, create and stimulate growth of local business opportunities such as welding, carpentry and milling.
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 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.