Dutch developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief unveiled 7.5MW Mubuga solar power plant energy in attempt to solve the country’s power shortfalls
Mubuga Solar Power Plant becomes the first large-scale solar power plant in Burundi and a rare investment success.
Dutch developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief on Tuesday 09 May 2023 along with the President of Burundi commissioned Mubuga solar power plant located in Gitega Central of Burundi.
This Solar Power Plant comprises of more than 20 thousand solar panels with a generated capacity of 7.5 MW. It is a partnership project between the Dutch developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief an Israeli based company and the government of Burundi.
The project, which was launched six years ago, has now been completed with the energization of the facility.
With a capacity of 7.5 MWp, the Mubuga solar power plant provides up to 10% of Burundi’s electricity, according to Gigawatt Global.
The Dutch IPP also estimates that the plant is capable of supplying 87,600 Burundians. It also represents the largest international private investment in Burundi’s electricity sector in nearly 30 years.
In his speech, the President of Burundi said that electricity is an essential factor in the country’s development. He further warmly thanked the company Gigawatt Global and other partners who continue to support Burundi in its development.
“We recognize the economic and climate steps forward in Burundi, which have been embraced by foreign direct investment to drive economic growth”, he said.
Ndayishimiye also urged international partners to back Burundi in solar power generation capacity.
The Mubuga solar power plant is located on the Mirambi hill about 68 kilometres from Burundi’s capital, Gitega.
Its construction, which was carried out under a public-private partnership, started in January 2020 after reaching financial closure in 2019. After its completion, the facility with more than 25,000 2021 solar panels, started commercial operation in 19. This was after a series of delays due to the COVID-19.
Inspired Evolution, Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) and Gigawatt Global financed the construction of the Mubuga solar plant. Additional support was provided directly and indirectly by the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP) and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO). Construction loans are refinanced by the US Development Finance Corporation (DFC).
The overall project cost highed up to US$14 million.
“This high-impact development expenditure, supported by major international financial institutions, indicates that Burundi is open for development and big business,” reported Michael Fichtenberg, vice president of finance and business development at the company.
Fichtenberg added that bringing clean energy to one the world’s least developed countries fulfills the company’s mission to be the premier impact platform of choice for renewables in Africa.
“We believe this demonstrates how solar power can be implemented in other developing markets while decreasing dependency on costly and polluting diesel generators”, he said.
“Gigawatt Global plans to use US$2 billion in renewable energy projects in Africa as partners in the White House Power Africa initiative over the next few years as renewables take the lead in power generation in Africa and emerging markets,” said CEO Josef. Abramowitz
Burundi has approximately 40 MW of electricity at a 10% electrification rate. The average electricity consumption per capita in this East African country is among the lowest on the continent at 23 kWh/year, compared to the African average of 150 kWh/year.
The Mubuga solar power plant generate 7.5 MW of electricity. It provides electricity to approximately 90,000 Burundians and is expected to improve the country’s electricity capacity by 300%.
Also, 300 part-time jobs during construction were created as well as 50 full-time jobs.
The Governor of Gitega province, Venant Manirambona, hailed the project as a major contribution to the country’s development. He therefore asked that the Mirama hill, where the project is located, also be electrified, as well as the main towns of Nyarusange, Buraza and Ryansoro, which have no electricity.
Proxy citizen of Gitega communes were left at odds as they look forward to being lit.