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Leading UK newspaper The Guardian reports on EAIF supported Rwanda solar farm

On 23 November, The Guardian, one of the largest selling quality newspapers in the UK, ran a large feature story on the 8.5MW Gigawatt Global solar farm in eastern Rwanda. The solar farm, which was financed and built in just a year, became operational in Spring 2015. It . EAIF provided a senior debt facility of US$10.6 million to the project, which had total development cost of US$23.7 million. The size and period of the loan and EAIF’s ability to rapidly close the financial and legal aspects of the transaction, allowed the company to meet its ambitious construction and completion deadlines.

“Arise, shine for your light has come,” reads a sign at the entrance to the first major solar power farm in east Africa. The 8.5 megawatt (MW) power plant in Rwanda is designed so that, from a bird’s-eye view, it resembles the shape of the African continent. “Right now we’re in Somalia,” jokes Twaha Twagirimana, the plant supervisor, during a walkabout of the 17-hectare site. The plant is also evidence, not only of renewable energy’s increasing affordability, but how nimble it can be. The $23.7m (£15.6m) solar field went from contract signing to construction to connection in just a year, defying sceptics of Africa’s ability to realise projects fast.The setting is magnificent amid Rwanda’s famed green hills, within view of Lake Mugesera, 60km east of the capital, Kigali. Some 28,360 solar panels sit in neat rows above wild grass where inhabitants include puff adders. Tony Blair and Bono have recently taken the tour. From dawn till dusk the computer-controlled photovoltaic panels, each 1.9 sq metres, tilt to track the sun from east to west, improving efficiency by 20% compared to stationary panels. The panels are from China while the inverters and transformers are from Germany.

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