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Energy 4 Impact unveils new programme to scale up off-grid energy in Rwanda


Energy 4 Impact has launched a new off-grid renewable energy support programme in Rwanda. The programme, Scaling up Off Grid Energy in Rwanda (SOGER), aims to grow sustainable off-grid renewable energy markets by supporting private sector companies to deliver energy access to an estimated 77,000 people in poor rural areas, and create 7,000 jobs.

The Sida-funded programme that runs between July 2016 and June 2019 is designed to respond to the country’s challenges and government priorities to reduce poverty and increase energy access in rural areas. The Rwanda government targets to increase access to electricity to 70 % by 2018 out of which 22 % will be through off grid connections. As off now, off grid connections account for less than 2 %.

The programme involves a facility to support small isolated mini-grid projects, including small and pico hydro projects, providing electricity to rural communities and uplifting their economic wellbeing through productive use of energy. It also focusses on increasing productivity for small farmers through access to appropriate solar-powered irrigation systems.

The programme will comprise the Renewable Energy Small Projects (RESP) Development Facility which will accelerate the development and growth of small isolated mini-grid RESP projects, including solar mini-grids and projects based on other renewable energy approaches. This is in line with the Rwanda government’s priorities for rural electrification. It will support the development of 30 pico-hydro micro-utilities to provide sustainable electricity to rural communities.

The RESP targets isolated solar mini-grids and mini-hydro projects, as well as support to small, medium and micro-enterprises in productive use of energy.  Technical and transaction advisory support services will be offered to local and international private project developers and micro-enterprises

- says Energy 4 Impact’s Rwanda Country Manager Herbert Nyaga.

Under the support to smallholder farmers through the development of the solar irrigation markets in Rwanda, the project will work with the private sector to establish supply chains for successful introduction of the technology to the market. Energy 4 Impact will collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture and its subsidiary Boards like the Rwanda Agriculture Board and the Ministry of Local Governments to implement this.

The project seeks to create sustainable markets for solar irrigation systems to boost small scale farming productivity in Rwanda

- Herbert says.

The SOGER in Rwanda will strive to create more market for energy in rural areas through promoting productive use activities that additionally will create more jobs for women and youth and contribute to increase household incomes.