In early 2014, Mobisol and its partner, Energy Development Corporation Ltd (EDCL), have been awarded a grant under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The EDF is the main source of EU development aid for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the overseas territories. The grants are awarded to projects aiming to promote economic, cultural and social development in the ACP and the overseas territories, to strengthen peace and security and to promote a stable and democratic political environment.
Mobisol and the Rwandan Government have formed a partnership to increase the access to modern and sustainable electricity for people living in rural and off-grid areas. The Prepaid Energy – Rent to Own Solar Home Systems Project aims at alleviating poverty and improving the quality of life of the rural poor by offering a clean and sustainable energy supply alternative, which is affordable and supports economic activity.
Aiming to supply renewable energy to the rural population in Rwanda
It is the main interest of EDCL and Mobisol to provide an affordable and renewable energy solution to the rural population in the Republic of Rwanda. This goes in parallel with the specific objectives of the European Union Development Fund and the Rwandan Government which is targeting 70% access to electricity among its citizens in 2017. The experience of Mobisol in Tanzania and Kenya has shown that the supply of affordable energy greatly increases the economic activities of the beneficiaries. The specific objectives of the joint project cover the following four areas: Increasing availability and access to modern electricity services in rural areas – Enabling the rural poor to own a photo-voltaic system – Securing a sustainable electricity supply through using Mobisol Solar Home Systems – Increasing the economic activity of rural households.
Combining several aspects of sustainability: Environmental, educational & social
The goal of the project is to provide 49,000 households and 1,000 schools with solar power systems. Reaching this target will boost development in rural communities and have a significant long-term effect by providing younger generations of Rwandans with an electrified learning experience allowing for a stronger impetus on education. Solar electrical systems are a clean and cheaper alternative to the traditionally used energy resources like kerosene and petrol generators. The link between the distribution of the systems and Mobisol’s rent-to-own program achieves local system ownership and energy independence of the beneficiaries, as well as creating accountability from the beneficiaries for the provided equipment. A sustainable action can only be achieved if the project stakeholders have a long term plan to provide service and spare parts to the beneficiaries. The economic lifetime of a SHS is 25 years. For this period an extended maintenance maintenance and guarantee service is offered for a minimal fee through the fully implemented after-sales infrastructure. The experience of Mobisol GmbH has shown that over one third of the beneficiaries have started to earn additional household income by utilizing the electricity provided by the SHS. To further foster economic activity Mobisol GmbH has developed business kits which are easily installed and ready-to-use.
Pooling expertise through a public-private partnership
By partnering with the private company and government affiliate EDCL, Mobisol has been guaranteed valued corporate expertise that adds to the already broad support among the Rwandan Government. In addition, EDCL fosters the joint project by networking with further potential affiliates and supporters. The strong relationship between all stakeholders has so far helped gain general acceptance and a positive response among partners in assisting to reach the ambitious targets which have been set for the project. Visibility of the project has been particularly increased by the inauguration event which took place on 11 November 2014. The event was advertised amongst various channels with honourable guests having been invited. The event was attended by about 150 guests, including 85 Mobisol employees. Honourable guests included the Minister of State in charge of Energy and Water Mrs. Germaine Kamayirese, EU Ambassador to Rwanda Mr Michael Ryan, Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda Mr Arnout Pauwels, CEO of Rwanda Energy Group Mr Jean Bosco Mugiraneza, and the Mayor of Rwamagana Mr. Uwimana.