Burundi Inaugurates First Utility-Scale Solar Field

The 7.5MW plant is in Mubuga in the central Gitega province.

By Chriselle Moraes on
24th May 2023

The official inauguration of Burundi's first grid-connected solar power plant took place on 9 May at Mubuga in the central Gitega province. The president of Burundi, Évariste Ndayishimiye, was in attendance.

The 7.5MW photovoltaic plant has been operational since May 2021 and supplies over 10% of Burundi’s electricity.

The solar farm is the country's first non-diesel independent power project. Gigawatt Global secured a 25-year power purchase agreement with the government of Burundi for its development.

A consortium including pan-African private equity investor Inspired Evolution, the UK government-funded Renewable Energy Performance Platform, and Gigawatt Global financed the project. US International Development Finance Corporation provided political risk insurance and led the refinancing of the construction debt. 

Construction was carried out between January 2020 and October 2021, with France's Voltalia providing the engineering, procurement and construction services.

The plant supplies electricity to about 87,600 people and businesses. It created 300 temporary jobs during construction and will support up to 50 permanent jobs during its operational phase.

There are already plans to double the size of the plant.

Gigawatt Global financed and developed the first commercial-scale solar field in continental sub-Sahara (outside South Africa), in neighbouring Rwanda in 2014. The company is also developing solar-based rural electrification mini-grid and solar street lighting pilot projects in Burundi. 

According to CEO Yosef Abramowitz, Gigawatt Global is looking to deploy $1 billion in renewable energy projects in Africa in the coming years as a partner to the White House Power Africa initiative.

“We are targeting sub-Sahara Africa as a high impact and high growth market, with a portfolio of small, medium and large power projects in the highest priority development areas," he said during the construction phase of the Burundi project. "Our unique quadruple bottom-line approach emphasizes investment grade projects, humanitarian impact, climate change mitigation, and economic and social development."

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