RWAMAGANA, Rwanda – After a short lesson on the electronics of solar grid connection, members of Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village’s science club walked through the gates of their country’s first solar field – a sea of blue panels amid the tree-dotted mountains of eastern Rwanda.
“We hope you will be the revolutionaries,” American-Israeli solar entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz told them on Wednesday afternoon.
“Let’s show you how it works from electron to grid.”
The science club members – a group of 18 high school students in the village – were receiving a special preview tour of a new 8.5 MW solar field, to be launched by the American- owned Dutch company Gigawatt Global the following day. The first utility-scale solar power plant in all of East Africa, the field is now generating six percent of the Rwandan power supply.
“The humming you hear, that’s the sound of electricity changing from DC to AC,” Abramowitz told the students, from atop a staircase next to the field’s inverter cabin.
Abramowitz serves as president and co-founder of Gigawatt Global, alongside managing director and co-founder Chaim Motzen, who spearheaded the Rwanda project.
The new field is located on the grounds of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, established in December 2008 by Jewish South African-American attorney and philanthropist Anne Heyman, who died tragically in a horse riding accident in January 2014.
Located in Rwanda’s Eastern Province district of Rwamagana, about 60 km. from Kigali, the village is home to high school students orphaned during or after the Rwandan genocide.
With the rows of panels gleaming in the afternoon sunshine, the science club students eagerly asked questions about electricity flow.
“It is a great opportunity for students of Agahozo to be next to this site,” Fabian Izabayo, the project’s assistant site manager, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. Continue reading…