ARC Power has announced new plans for continental expansion that would see the British startup become one of the largest mini-grid providers in Africa.
Courtesy of ARC Power
Building on an already strong presence in the country, ARC is set to facilitate 20,000 connections in Rwanda by the end of the year and will begin a rollout into Malawi under a soon to be launched pilot scheme. The forward-thinking company is aiming to be operating in at least four countries in East Africa by 2023.
The plans laid out by ARC Power are testament to the significant strides made by the startup since operations in Rwanda began in 2017. At the forefront of Rwanda’s solar energy revolution, ARC’s team on the ground - comprised of 95 percent Rwandan nationals - has helped countless rural communities gain access to first time power. ARC Power’s impact will continue to widen this year when pioneering a first pilot in Rwanda of battery swapping units for electric motorbikes in partnership with sister company ARC Ride.
In November, ARC Power received national coverage when Rwanda’s first Solar Business Park opened its doors to the people of Magama in the Bugesera District. ARC has since announced further plans to support local entrepreneurship with another 20 Solar Business Parks set to be up and running by the end of 2021, allowing for the creation of more than 100 new businesses.
Longer-term, ARC envisages opening a total of 45 Solar Business Parks across Rwanda to support local businesses and connect another quarter of a million people to affordable, reliable and clean power. This will cap a period of rapid growth for the company who have increased funding targets from £250,000 in 2018 to over £10million as of 2021.
“Rwanda will only be able to realise its full potential when every citizen has access to affordable, reliable and clean energy and are truly empowered to transform their communities" said ARC Power Founder & CEO Karl Boyce, speaking about the company's ambitious plans for 2021. "Too many people in Rwanda and across Africa do not have access to a reliable source of energy – our goal is to change this and to eliminate one of the biggest barriers to development across the continent. We have shown in Rwanda what can be achieved with ambitious thinking, supportive government partners and committed communities. We are working with local government to achieve real change in Rwanda whilst implementing green technologies that will underpin the growth of these communities for years to come. In the face of an ever-changing climate and unprecedented global challenges, it is more important than ever that we find ways of stimulating economic development whilst addressing the pressing need to implement greener energy alternatives. Our plans to expand into Malawi this year, and across East Africa in the coming years, are a natural continuation of the progress we have made as a company since our mission began in Rwanda in 2017. As we set our sights on becoming one of the largest mini-grid providers in Africa, we will continue to pursue opportunities that showcase the potential of solar power and the people who benefit from it.”