Students from the ASYV get training in design and maintenance of solar energy systems

Last week, from the 20th to 24th of April, a group of students from the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village received training in design and maintenance of solar energy systems. The course was taught by Fred Hassepass from SMA— a leading global specialist on photovoltaic systems and technology - who flew in from Germany especially to give this unique training.

The students found the presentations to be dynamic, interactive, and engaging. The course also included a guided tour of Gigawatt Global's 8.5 MW solar field that sits on the grounds of the village. "The workshop will undoubtedly benefit our alumni in their quest for jobs and university scholarships." said Rachel Sherman, the International Coordinator of ASYV.

By facilitating and funding the course we are maintaining our commitment to ensure that the Gigawatt's solar field is beneficial to the students and alumni of the village — all orphans from the Rwandan genocide that took place 21 years ago. We are looking forward to seeing the brilliant future that awaits them.

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Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visits our Rwanda solar field

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited our Rwanda solar field last week. He was escorted on a tour of the facility by Energiya Global's co-founder and Managing Director, Chaim Motzen.

Blair called the project "a great vote of confidence for the country and its future."

"It’s of a size which is unusual as well and it will increase the capacity of electricity by around 6 per cent. At different levels this is an important and symbolic project,”

Tony Blair is the patron of the Strategic Capacity Building Initiative, a pioneering partnership between the Government of Rwanda and Africa Governance Initiative (Agi) - which supported the project by providing capacity for the government in negotiating investment deals.

 

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Our Co-Founder and Managing Director Chaim Motzen escorts Tony Blair on a tour of our solar field in Rwanda.

 

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Blair and Mayor TonyBlairVisit1

 

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Chaim Motzen and Tony Blair's selfie!

 

“It’s a really important investment and a great international collaboration. This is a good example of what Rwanda can be,” said Blair.

We agree!

 

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Gigawatt Global develops $23.7 million solar farm for Rwanda

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By Robin Whitlock

Gigawatt Global’s utility-scale solar field in Rwanda boost’s the country’s electricity generation capacity by six percent.

Gigawatt Global develops $23.7 million solar farm for Rwanda

Gigawatt Global develops $23.7 million solar farm for Rwanda

 

Gigawatt Global has officially launched its  $23.7 million  solar energy plant in the East  African country of Rwanda,  which the  company financed, constructed and  interconnected 12 months after the official  signing of the  Power Purchase Agreement.  The facility was opened on  February 5th   with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event led  by  led by Rwanda’s Minister of  Infrastructure, Hon. James  Musoni, and  the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Government’s  Overseas Private Investment Corporation  (OPIC), John Morton. International  representatives of the partners that developed the landmark project were also in attendance.

The 8.5 MW solar farm is located at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a residential community and farm which aims to provide care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The village has leased the land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village's charitable expenses. Gigawatt Global will also be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village.

READ MORE: http://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/article/gigawatt-global-develops-23-7-million-solar-20150209

 

 

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East Africa’s First Utility-Scale Solar Field Launched

(Kigali, Rwanda) - Only 12 months after the official signing of the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), Gigawatt Global has succeeded in financing, constructing and interconnecting a $23.7 million solar energy plant, culminating in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.

Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Hon. James Musoni, and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), John Morton, will lead the ribbon-cutting on Thursday, February 5, at 12:30pm of the 8.5 Megawatt (MW) solar field at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), and will be joined by international representatives of the partners that developed the landmark project.

The Rwanda field - constructed in the shape of the African continent - brought together an international consortium of financing partners. Debt was provided by FMO (Netherlands Development Finance Company) and the London-based EAIF (Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund); mezzanine debt provided by Norfund (the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries); equity from Scatec Solar ASA (who also served as EPC contractor and serves as O&M provider), Norfund and KLP Norfund Investments (a vehicle jointly owned by KLP, the largest pension fund in Norway, and Norfund). Grants were received from the United States Government via OPIC’s ACEF (Africa Clean Energy Finance) grant and from the EEP (Energy and Environment Partnership) Programme, a partnership of the British, Norwegian and Austrian governments. SEDI Labs served as a key project development partner. Norton Rose Fulbright from London served as the international legal counsel.

The sign goes up on the solar field at ASYV

The sign goes up on the solar field at ASYV

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CEO Yosef addresses attendees at the launch

 

“Top quality developers like Gigawatt Global are the keys to success for President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative,” said Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of OPIC. “After OPIC provided critical early-stage support through the ACEF program, Gigawatt smoothly and swiftly brought the project online to give Rwanda enough grid-connected power to supply 15,000 homes. Gigawatt Global in Rwanda is a clear demonstration that solar will be a key part of Africa’s energy solution.”

Chaim Motzen, Gigawatt Global Co-Founder and Managing Director, and the main force behind the development of the project stated, “Our project proves the viability of financing and building large-scale solar fields in sub-Saharan Africa, and we hope that this solar field serves as a catalyst for many more sustainable energy projects in the region.” He continued, “The speed with which this project was completed is a tribute to the strength of the Rwandan government’s institutions and their laser-focus on increasing Rwanda’s generation capacity as well as to the nimbleness of our team and partners which spanned eight countries.”

The Rwandan project is built on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, whose mission is to care for Rwanda’s most vulnerable children orphaned before and after the Rwandan genocide. The village is leasing land to house the solar facility, the fees from which will help pay for a portion of the Village's charitable expenses. Gigawatt Global will also be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village.

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Chaim Motzen, managing director and co-founder

 

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"Anne Heyman, our Founder of blessed memory, held to a vision in which the Village practiced tikkun olam, the Jewish teaching to help heal the world.  In addition to our work with Rwanda's most vulnerable children, we're now helping to improve the lives of thousands of people through sustainable electricity generation,” said Laurie Toll Franz, ASYV's Board Chair.

Yosef Abramowitz, President of Gigawatt Global, believes that “this utility-scale solar field at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is a symbol of hope for sub-Saharan Africa’s tens of millions of orphans and 600 million people without power, ushering in a new era of impact investing that we will hopefully be replicating throughout Africa.  We want to thank President Obama and Secretary Kerry, along with our other financial partners, for the opportunity to celebrate this landmark electricity-generating project under Power Africa.”

Gigawatt Global is one of almost 90 private sector partners involved in the U.S. Government’s Power Africa Initiative, which is designed to increase access to electricity throughout all of sub-Saharan Africa. By providing creative financing, business development support and commercial advocacy through various U.S. Government agencies, Power Africa represents a new model of development which facilitates the work of its partner companies in developing new energy sources, including wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, and geothermal resources in all of sub-Saharan Africa.

“The people of Rwanda should be proud to host the first utility-scale solar power plant in East Africa, and we hope that the pioneering spirit of Rwandan authorities may serve as an inspiration to other countries in the region. The ASYV project will be an important source of clean and reliable electricity for the next 20 years and beyond, and we are proud of having made this possible in cooperation with our partners Gigawatt and Norfund,” said Torstein Berntsen, Executive Vice President of Scatec Solar ASA.

Gigawatt Global’s 8.5 MW solar field in Rwanda is the first utility-scale project to reach financial close and come online under the Africa Clean Energy Finance (ACEF) program, which is now an integral part of the Power Africa Initiative.

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Eilat Eilot Conference and the need for change in policy

Only a few days after Israel saw the largest oil spill in its history, the Eilat Eilot Conference was held - an event designed to push for a wider alternative-energy use. It was a key time to show what Israel is capable of doing and demand better policies from our Government.

While it is common sense that relying on oil is a bad idea, Israel’s Government officials still haven’t fully embraced renewables. Their solution to the oil crisis is to substitute it for natural gas, another fossil fuel. Being located in an earthquake fault area -and with an unstable security situation - gas transportation pipelines are extremely vulnerable, making that an irresponsible choice (not to mention more difficult to implement and costly). On the other hand, today’s renewable energy industry is frozen due to inconsistent policy, and its share of the market is a tiny 1.5% (in comparison, many countries in Western Europe have already reached 10% or above).

While not as profitable, renewable sources are clearly the best alternative. Our small share is a shame to a country with one of the highest solar radiation rates in the world and at the forefront of green energy technologies. Solar power is cheaper, safer, easy to implement and abundant – it can surely be Israel’s future. There are no good reasons why we shouldn’t be leaders in the field, showing other nations our example ( specially in times when we need so much to change the ways in which we are perceived).  We HAVE the technology, we HAVE the natural resources. All we need is serious, consistent policy. "How can this be? Are we a banana republic, or a bona fide country?" said Yosef Abramowitz in a recent interview for Globes. Our representatives should finally decide. In the meantime, the crisis of our outdated energy paradigm is spread all over our desert.

The oil spill.

The oil spill.

Yosef speaking at the Eilat Eilot Conference.

Yosef speaking at the Eilat Eilot Conference, holding a cup of oil.

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Energy and the PA: The Currency of Peace

 

Solar can bring energy to the PA, peace to all: expert

Israel’s ‘Kaptain Sunshine': A $2 billion program for sun-powered electricity infrastructure is just what the West Bank needs

 October 21, 2014, 6:15 pm
Courtesy of the Times of Israel

The Palestinian Authority is set to become a major “solar power” in the Middle East, as it adopts a policy of building solar energy fields in Areas A and B, the PA-controlled areas of the West Bank. According to Israeli solar energy pioneer Yosef Abramowitz, there is a “99.9% likelihood” that the first solar field will be built there next year.

in contrast with Israel’s lackluster attitude toward solar power, he said the PA suddenly appears very visionary as a center of solar technology. “Because of bureaucratic issues, many of the solar power companies in Israel have either folded or gone abroad,” Abramowitz noted. In the PA, though, “there are some very professional people who are seriously interested in expanding solar energy as a means of achieving energy independence, generating jobs, and enhancing the pride of Palestinians.”

Read more: Solar can bring energy to the PA, peace to all: expert | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/solar-can-bring-energy-to-the-pa-peace-to-all-expert/#ixzz3GsX9j7mr
Follow us: @timesofisrael on Twitter | timesofisrael on Facebook

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Two Visionaries Join Forces

Arnold Goldman, founder of the solar energy industry as we know it receives a copy of "Shabbat Ha'Aretz," a book about Shmitta penned by our VP of Research Yedidya Sinclair.

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300,000 Join Climate March on the UN

CEO Yosef  Abramowitz was one of many of the world's leading environmentalists to hit the streets of New York City for the biggest protest for the planet in US history. He joined fellow activist Arthur Waskow on a parade float version of Noah's Ark, making the point that the earth may be facing a repeat of the Biblical tragedy.

Yosef Abramowitz and Arthur Waskow

Yosef Abramowitz and Arthur Waskow

"I believe that access to green energy should be elevated by the United Nations to be a fundamental human right for all.  I am here to represent Israel at the People’s Climate March and to encourage Israeli and global decision makers who are gathering at the UN Climate Summit to take immediate steps to accelerate adoption of solar, end global subsidies for oil, swap out coal for cleaner natural gas and encourage governments to commit to electric vehicle fleets,"  said Abramowitz.

Also joining the march was Bill Mckibben, author, environmentalist, activist and co-founder of 350.org, an international climate campaign that operates in 188 countries around the world.

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Abramowitz and Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org

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over 300,000 marched to raise awareness of climate change and its threat to the planet

Be part of the solution.

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The Jewish imperative to tackle climate change

 

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two days before the U.N. Climate Summit, demonstrators, including a large multi-faith contingent — will descend on New York City to demand urgent action on climate change. The People’s Climate March, which coincides with the week of the U.N. General Assembly, is being billed as the largest climate march in history.

Sunday’s event is notably taking place in the city badly battered less than two years prior by Hurricane Sandy — the “super storm” that killed 285 people and caused tens of billion of dollars in damage to property and infrastructure.

Also remarkable: The march is happening just three days before Rosh Hashanah. This Jewish New Year is different than all past ones, for it is the last observance of Shmita — Israel’s biblically mandated yearlong farming sabbatical — before extreme climate change becomes irreversible.

PricewaterhouseCoopers recently released its latest Low Carbon Economy Index, with the damning news that the major economies are falling further behind meeting their carbon reduction goals.

All of this makes the haunting liturgy of the Days of Awe — “who shall live and who shall die” — particularly resonant.

Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, which erased more than 6,300 names from the Book of Life last November, was supercharged by the warming waters of the Indian Ocean and the higher sea levels due to the melting of the ice caps. Who by water. The severity of the droughts across sub-Sahara Africa threatens millions of lives. Who by thirst. Even California is suffering compromising water shortages and wildfires. Who by fire.

The economic devastation alone of climate change — prices for water, food and energy will rise for billions of people — coupled with the unprecedented loss of human life is like no other physical and moral challenge that humanity has ever faced.

Enter the Jewish people.

Let’s not fool ourselves. We are a small people, contributing a fraction of a fraction of the nearly 40 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide that trap more and more heat in our atmosphere, creating the devastating greenhouse effect. Yet we are not without agency. Here are four things we can uniquely do as a people that can turn the tide against this global challenge.


Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/09/16/news-opinion/opinion/op-ed-the-jewish-imperative-to-tackle-climate-change-and-four-ways-to-do-it#ixzz3Eby8CDK1

 

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Better energy: A missed opportunity for Israel at the UN Climate Summit

The largest climate march in history will hit New York City three days before Rosh Hashanah, demanding urgent action ahead of the special UN Climate Summit and the General Assembly of the world body. Less than two years since Hurricane Sandy killed 285 people and caused over $60 billion in damage, a quarter of a million people are expected to flood the streets of the Big Apple, including a large multifaith contingent that will march together.

This Jewish New Year is different than all past ones, for it is the last observance of shmita – the sabbatical year for the environment – before extreme climate change becomes irreversible.

Read more here: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Better-energy-A-missed-opportunity-for-Israel-at-the-UN-Climate-Summit-375538?fb_action_ids=10152784950282642&fb_action_types=og.shares

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