Burundi's solar capacity to double, announces President Ndayishimiye 

President Ndayishimiye of Burundi has visited Gigawatt Global’s solar power plant in Mubuga, Burundi, near the capital Gitega, the nation’s first utility-scale solar field.
Burundi President, Évariste Ndayishimiye (centre), in front of Gigawatt Global's 7.5MW solar field.

The high-profile celebratory event was attended in-person and remotely by dozens of foreign diplomats including the ambassadors of the United States, Holland and others, as well as representatives of the project partners and local dignitaries. During the visit, President Ndayishimiye and Gigawatt Global CEO Yosef Abramowitz announced their intention to double the generating capacity near the currently operating plant.

“Today we celebrate economic and climate progress in Burundi, which is open to direct foreign investment to catalyse economic growth for our people” said President Ndayishimiye at the ceremony. “We invite the international community to follow the lead of our partners at Gigawatt Global, Inspired Evolution, REPP and DFC and develop projects, especially in the agricultural sector. We have excellent soil for tea and coffee and an industrious population. And thanks to this solar field, and my agreement to double the size of it, we have increased energy security that can reliably run agro-businesses.”

Built through a multinational effort, the pioneering 7.5 MW solar PV plant near the village of Mubuga has been in operation since May 2021 and now provides over 10 percent of Burundi’s electricity, supplying clean power to tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

The plant supports international efforts to increase renewables and climate finance, especially for the world’s most vulnerable communities.

A small business and community centre powered by solar energy providing access to productive use of electricity locally, is also moving forward. This ‘Energy Hub’, for which land and funding are being secured, will promote community development through women’s empowerment and youth and employment programs, along with various educational components developed in conjunction with local and international NGOs.

The six-year process of developing and building Burundi’s first solar plant was led by Gigawatt Global, an award-winning green energy developer and independent power producer for Africa. Financing for the construction of the project was provided via a consortium including pan-African private equity investor Inspired Evolution via its Evolution II Fund, the UK government-funded Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP – managed by Camco), and Gigawatt Global. Political risk insurance and refinancing of construction debt is being led by the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC).

“Today’s celebration of Burundi’s first grid-connected solar farm follows an extraordinary international effort to increase renewables and climate finance in one of the world’s most vulnerable countries” said UK Ambassador to Burundi, Omar Daair. “This pioneering solar project, proudly supported through UK international climate finance, has increased Burundi’s generation capacity by over 10 percent and is helping propel the country towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.”

Additional support for the project was provided directly and indirectly from the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP – a fund set up by Finland, the UK and Austria) and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO). Trinity International has advised the Gigawatt Global and Inspired Evolution equity teams since 2017. Engineering, procurement and construction services were provided by French firm Voltalia.

Gigawatt Global Burundi SA Managing Director Michael Fichtenberg said: “This project demonstrates how the world community can realize shared development goals by utilising international financing facilities best suited for frontier and emerging markets.”

“We thank our impact investors and strategic partners, as well as the Burundi government, for joining forces to accomplish this historic milestone fulfilling many of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in Burundi” said Gigawatt Global CEO Yosef Abramowitz. “President Ndayishimiye is demonstrating the sort of leadership which will encourage additional foreign direct investment from us and our investment and development finance partners. Burundi’s business climate is continuing to improve and we are confident that we can continue to power their growth.”

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