Rwanda is set to host the Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo (GOGSFE), giving the country an opportunity to showcase how it has managed to make progress in accelerating access to alternative energy sources.
The 7th GOGSFE set for October 18 – 20, 2022 is organized by Global Association for the Off-grid Solar Energy industry -GOGLA, the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program, in collaboration with Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure (Mininfra).
The conference seeks to provide a unique platform for knowledge exchange, networking and showcasing off-grid solar products and services.
The event aims to accelerate the development of global off-grid solar market contributing to achieving universal energy access by 2030.
Annick Muhama, Director General for Energy at Mifotra said that the conference will be an opportunity to showcase the energy access journey to date and to highlight the importance of the country’s universal electrification goal.
Rwanda has taken a policy decision to diversify electricity provision by adding off-grid connections, mainly solar home systems, to the traditionally dominant grid connectivity.
To date, electricity rollout has reached 73% of the households.
Contribution of the off-grid solution is estimated at 22%, while the remaining 51% accounts for grid electricity. Rwandan targets a universal access to energy by 2024.
“The forum will serve as a platform to engage the private sector, policy makers and development partners to jointly advise on the necessary measures and strategies to increase off-grid contribution to universal access to electricity in less than two years to come,” Muhama said on September 12, 2022, during a press briefing on the up conference.
Muhama underscored that the forum will also increase networking between the off-grid solar industry members, investors and other key stakeholders to facilitate more involvement of the off-grid solar industry in the journey of universal access to electricity.
Close to 760 million people still lack access to electricity however over 101million people today have energy access thanks to off-grid solar energy.
Patrick Tonui, Head of Policy and Regional Strategy at GOGLA said that the meeting will deepen collaboration with governments and development partners and expand the association’s focus to relevant neighboring sectors to discuss how off-grid solar can contribute to household needs beyond energy access.
“Rwanda is a clear and early champion for realizing universal energy access. This will be a learning opportunity for others. Rwanda has not only managed to increase access, but also how they have done this is important for lessons to scale these practices,” Tonui said.
Rwanda’s success is attributed to the strong partnership and support provided by the World Bank (WB) to governments and private sector through its Lighting Global Program, Renewable Energy Fund among others programs on quality assurance and capacity building.
For instance, in 2020 WB granted Rwanda $150 million in financing to improve access to modern energy for households, enterprises, and public institutions and $ 27.5 million for Renewable Energy Fund (REF) Project for six years (2017 – 2023).
Norah Kipwola, the Senior Energy Specialist at World Bank Rwanda said that there is still a lot of work to be done and thus the meet will onboard collaborative ways moving forward.
“We are excited to partner in the conference because it supports our belief in rolling out renewable energy,” Kipwola said.
Kipwola said that for instance after a decade Lighting Global has supplied over 55 million quality products reaching over 60 million households, avoiding 53 million tons of greenhouse gases.
It also has set a fund of $2.7 billion to reach 30 million people.
At the conference, the GOGLA members will celebrate 10 years of reaching 380 million people with improved energy access, $12.9 billion in savings and 90metric tons CO2 avoided.