Africa's Biggest Solar Plant Unveiled


Africa’s biggest solar powered plant has been unveiled in Rwanda, which the Government claim can produce 250 kilowatts. The plant will increase Rwanda's electricity capacity to 50 megawatts.

Energy State Minister, Albert Butare, spoke to Reuters, "This new installation does not only increase the generation capacity but is also one of the cleanest energy sources. It is the biggest such project in Africa. There is no comparison on record."

It’s not yet enough for the rapidly developing country though; 100 megawatts are needed to meet the soaring demand for power. Regular blackouts have caused many to resort to expensive and dirty diesel generators. The story is the same throughout the developing world, the demand for power, transport and goods is increasing rapidly. Many fear that this will cause a huge surge in global emissions in the near future, and that a solution is urgently needed.As countries like Rwanda build a developed infrastructure it is vital that they start as they mean to go on, and use sustainable energy sources. Unfortunately though, cost is very often a higher priority than emissions. This is understandable, as energy is important in such regions to provide a better way of life.

However, with the climate in Rwanda as it is, it is perfect for solar power. The government has said that it hopes to install similar solar plants, especially in rural areas where there is little chance of grid connection in the near future.

"It is reliable and very cheap to maintain," Butare said. As well as solar though, Rwanda will attempt to harness the large methane reserves found under Lake Kivu, which straddles Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. A pilot project is already underway, which should produce four megawatts. :: Reuters

See also :: The Economist: Africa's Global Warming Challenge :: Design for Africa: Rocking the Design World :: Solar Revolution in...Kenya?

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