Gigawatt Global has unveiled a street lighting project using solar power in downtown Bujumbura, lighting the heavily-trafficked central bus station and nearby marketplace in Burundi’s capital.
The innovative project by the leading frontier solar and social development enterprise extends the hours of doing business thereby providing opportunities for economic development and enhances security in the city.
“The city of Bujumbura is very pleased to be working with Gigawatt Global on this important solar street lighting project,” said Bujumbura’s Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa. “It is the hope and wish of all involved that this project can spread throughout the city, as well as expand to other cities in Burundi within the near future.”
The company is in talks to scale the solar-powered ‘light islands’ project throughout the capital and other major Burundian towns.
As part of its larger program of green electrification in Burundi, Gigawatt Global intends to roll-out 40 ‘light islands’ in the first phase of the program.
Michael Fichtenberg, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Burundi said, “We are grateful and pleased to work with the city of Bujumbura, and the Honorable Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa to realise this important first step of the solar street lighting project”.
More than 95 per cent of Burundi’s 11 million-population has no access to electricity. By extending its investments from commercial scale projects to include off-grid installations, Gigawatt Global is positively impacting the lives of millions of people in Burundi and across the continent.
American-owned Dutch developer Gigawatt Global is one of the founding members of the White House Power Africa initiative. It provides 100 per cent financing for its projects, pioneered commercial scale solar power plants in sub-Sahara Africa, the first of which it launched in Rwanda in 2014 and is currently supplying 6 per cent of the country’s generation capacity.
Gigawatt Global will complete a $14 million 7.5 Mw solar field in the Gitega region of Burundi in the next six months, which will supply 15 per cent of the country’s generation capacity.
It is currently developing similar projects in 10 African countries including Liberia and South Sudan.
The ‘light islands’ project in Bujumbura is produced by a team comprising local members Patrick Nzitunga, Gigawatt Global Regional Coordinator, and Deo Hugere, Gigawatt Global Engineer; while the engineering, procurement, and construction components of the project are being carried out by Asantys System.
The pilot program is supported by an initiative of the governments of the United Kingdom, Austria and Finland, the Energy & Environmental Partnership (EEP); and with an impact investment from entrepreneur Alex Goldberg.