Home Business & TechEconomy Access To Electricity, A Universal Human Right – Reminds the International Solar Alliance

Access To Electricity, A Universal Human Right – Reminds the International Solar Alliance

by Williams Buningwire
4:59 pm

Dr Ajay Mathur

Access to electricity is a universal human right. It is established as an important factor for sustainable development and non-discriminatory for individuals, places or communities globally.

In Rwanda, universal access to electricity has been prioritized by the government, through National Strategy for Transformation (NST1) and International Solar Alliance (ISA)── an alliance of more than 120 signatory countries, most being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn.

The alliance (ISA) says mass investment is needed in the establishment of solar energy because access to electricity is a human right, and none should be left behind.

“It is a universal human right to access electricity. Solar energy in Africa presents a remarkable opportunity to tackle energy deficits, advance sustainable development, and contribute to global endeavours in combating climate change. Sustained collaboration among governments, private sector entities, and international organisations is indispensable to unleash the complete potential of solar energy across the continent,” Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of ISA said.

“ISA advocates for the utilisation of cost-effective decentralised solutions, exemplified by mini-grids that can be swiftly implemented in areas lacking or limited in grid infrastructure. ISA’s interventions within the 2023 G20 processes have prominently addressed this pivotal theme. African entrepreneurs and innovators are crafting distinct solutions to confront local energy challenges, representing a highly advantageous approach where local needs are met with locally nurtured solutions,” Dr. Mathur further said at the 5th regional meeting of Isa, Kigali from August 31st  to 1st September.

According to Rwanda Energy Group (REG), the percentage of people who have access to electricity has climbed from 2% in 2000 to roughly 74.5% as of November 2022.

Of these, 50.9% are connected to the national grid, while 23.6% employ off-grid technologies, such as mini-grids and freestanding solar home systems.

Although Rwanda’s electrical grid network has been aggressively expanded, analysis has shown that it will take time for grid connections to reach all houses. Off-grid options, such as solar home systems (SHS), were therefore developed to improve access to electricity in remote locations and are now a practical substitute for grid connections.

“As it has been clearly noted, access to electricity is a universal human right. By using every working and possible method people should have access to it. We are trying to promote young innovative entrepreneurs, every solution is considered,” Patricie Uwase, Minister of State in the Ministry of Infrastructure said.

According to reports from REG, access to electricity was seen as a rare privilege for those living in cities from 1937, when REGIDESO was founded, to 1957, when the country’s first power plant was erected, up until the year 2000, when just 46,000 houses were connected.

To boost the rate of access in Rwanda, a specific programme was launched in 2009 to roll out access to electricity, particularly in rural areas. Only 6% of Rwandan households had access to on-grid energy at the time, according to REG.

Rwanda’s current electrification strategy indicates that by 2024, over 70% of homes will be grid-connected, while just 30% would be using off-grid energy sources.

“It is high time for governments, International financial institutions and all energy sector players to come-up with strategies to leverage more resources and investments in solar energy to meet the 2030 goal of delivering energy access to 1,000 million people using clean energy solutions and resulting in increasing solar energy capacity. This would help mitigate global solar emissions to the tune of 1,000 million tonnes of CO2 every year. For this to succeed, we need to forge a collaborative approach and the time is now,” Dr Ernest Nsabimana, Minister of Infrastructure said.

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