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Power to the People - Bono in Rwanda

U2 LEAD SINGER BONO (second left) poses yesterday at the Gigawatt Global facility in Rwanda with (from left) company founder and president Yosef Abramowitz, co-founder Chaim Motzen and US Sen. Chris Coons. (photo credit:GIGAWATT GLOBAL)

 

 A rock star, 9 congressmen, and one solar field

Rwanda — On a “Beautiful Day” amid the tree-dotted mountains of eastern Rwanda, U2 frontman Bono symbolically knighted Israel’s own “Captain Sunshine” with two karate chops in place of the traditional sword ceremony.

“This is really history in the present... I like history in the present, living history, making history, writing history,” Bono said on Wednesday afternoon at the site of the Gigawatt Global solar field.

The U2 lead singer and activist was speaking to Yosef Abramowitz – aka Captain Sunshine – the American-Israeli co-founder and president of the Gigawatt Global company.

Set on the land of an Israeli-inspired Agahozo- Shalom Youth Village, Gigawatt Global’s $23.7 million, 8.5-MW field supplies about 6 percent of Rwanda’s power. The field, located about 60 km.

from Kigali in Rwanda’s Rwamagana district, was launched at a February 5 ceremony and is expected to harness the sun’s light for 25 years. Made up of 28,360 photovoltaic panels, the facility is the first utility-scale solar field in East Africa and the largest on the African continent outside of South Africa and Mauritius.

The Rwandan field is also the first project to be grid-connected under the framework of the United States Power Africa initiative – a program launched by President Barack Obama in June 2013 that aims to add more than 30 GW of cleaner energy to Africa, or enough to power 60 million homes and businesses.

“This field is the White House’s and Power Africa’s first completed proof of concept – that indeed, America can catalyze development in Africa not just through elections but also electrons,” Abramowitz told Bono and a US congressional delegation.

Bono joined nine US representatives visiting the Rwandan solar field on Wednesday, who were stopping in several African countries to explore ways that the US and Africa could expand economic development opportunities, according to a press statement from Sen. Al Franken (D-Minnesota). Their visit also coincides with the reintroduction of the Electrify Africa Act, which if passed, would provide congressional authorization for Power Africa.

The Electrify Africa Act is backed by the ONE Campaign, co-founded by Bono, which works to fight extreme poverty and disease, particularly in Africa. The act is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who was also among the congressional delegates at the field on Wednesday.

In addition to Franken and Coons, the other congressmen and women included Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon); Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas); Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island); Rep.

Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota); Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Alabama); Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-Massachusetts).

“We’re pleased to be the poster child for Bono and Electrify Africa,” Abramowitz told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The 8.5-MW Gigawatt Global field is situated on a 20-hectare plot overlooking the Agahozo- Shalom Youth Village, which is home to students orphaned during or after the Rwandan genocide. Established in December 2008, the village was the brainchild of Jewish South African- American attorney and philanthropist Anne Heyman, who died in a horse riding accident in January 2014. The fees paid by Gigawatt Global to lease the solar field’s land contribute to the village’s expenses.

“I hope this project serves to demonstrate how fast a solar energy project can be completed in sub-Saharan Africa, and that it catalyzes many more such projects on the continent – projects that by providing more energy to the grid, will substantially improve the lives of millions of people,” said Chaim Motzen, co-founder of Gigawatt Global and the driving force behind the project since its start.

Gigawatt Global defines itself as an American- owned Dutch company with an objective of developing, financing, constructing and activating utility-scale solar fields in emerging markets.

Debt for the Rwandan field came from the Dutch Development Bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, while mezzanine debt was provided by Norfund. Equity came from Scatec Solar – which also provided engineering, procurement and construction and operation and maintenance services for the project – as well as from Norfund and KLP Norfund. Grants were received from the US Government’s Power Africa as well as from the Energy and Environment Partnership. Legal representation was provided by Norton Rose Fulbright.

In his Wednesday address to the U2 frontman and the congressional delegation, Abramowitz stressed how the Gigawatt Global field strays from “the predictable battle lines between the developed and the developing world” and provides a new solution in the face of a changing climate.

For his part, Bono took to Instagram and Twitter, posting a picture of the pristine blue panels under the Rwandan sky, with the caption: “Looking to the future.”

 The Times of Israel Logo

Bono anoints Israel’s solar power ‘king’

The U2 star congratulates Yosef Abramowitz on his renewable energy project in post-genocide Rwanda

 August 28, 2015, 4:55 pm 2

“Being Knighted by Bono in our solar field, using the One.org wrist band, with the declaration: ‘You are an incredible dude,'” wrote Abramowitz on Facebook. “I can’t believe my kids weren’t there to witness. Here’s the video evidence, maybe they will respect that.”

Bono was in Rwanda visiting the solar field with a group of US representatives to explore ways in which the US and Africa can expand economic development opportunities.

The rock star has long been involved in African development through his ONE campaign, which fights extreme poverty and disease and also backs the Electrify Africa Act, an act to help bring electricity to 50 million Africans.

The $23.7 million field, a solar field developed by Abramowitz’s Gigawatt Global, supplies about 6 percent of Rwanda’s power and is set on the land of an Israeli-inspired youth village, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, the first of its kind in East Africa. 

https://www.facebook.com/yosef.abramowitz/videos/10153642735572642/?pnref=story

The youth village is home to students orphaned by the Rwandan genocide and was established by South African-American attorney and philanthropist Anne Heyman, a Young Judea friend of Abramowitz who died in a tragic horse riding accident in January 2014. The fees paid by Gigawatt Global to lease the solar field’s land help defray the village’s expenses.

The intent is for the Rwandan solar field to add more than 30 gigawatts of clean energy to Africa, enough to power 60 million homes and businesses, explained Abramowitz.

Bono posted his own picture of the solar panels under the Rwandan blue sky: “Looking to the future… Bono.”

 

Energiya USA to develop the first utility scale solar field in southeastern Georgia

Energiya USA CEO David Herskovits with Energiya Global CEO Yosef Abramowitz

Energiya USA CEO David Herskovits with Energiya Global CEO Yosef Abramowitz

 

 

(Jerusalem, Israel) – The U.S. affiliate of Israel’s Energiya Global Capital (https://energiyaglobal.com/), an international solar development firm headed by Yosef Abramowitz, won a $30 million, 17.68 megawatt solar deal in southeastern Georgia, the first utility scale solar project in the region.

Energiya USA, LLC just executed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with Georgia Power Company for the utility-scale solar field located on 79 acres in Glynn County, GA. Project Glynn will be constructed and interconnected by December 31,st 2015.

"Georgia Power is pleased to work with Energiya Global, and its U.S. affiliate, Energiya USA, as part of the Advanced Solar Initiative," said Norrie McKenzie, Vice President of Renewable Development, at Georgia Power Company. "With a shared commitment to innovative, clean energy solutions, our customers will benefit from this partnership today and in the future."

David M. Herskovits, CEO of Energiya USA, said, “Project Glynn is the first of a dozen utility-scale solar projects that Energiya USA plans to launch in the Southeastern market. We are proud to partner with Georgia Power Company in the deployment of renewable energy in the region.”

The Project Glynn solar energy project is another example that showcases a flourishing American-Israeli business and technology partnership. “We are thrilled to celebrate this newest development in the U.S.-Israel strategic relationship said Opher Aviran, Consul General of Israel to the Southeast.  “At a time when there is volatility in the world’s oil producing regions, Israel is proud to be on the forefront of the renewable energy revolution. The Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast is proud to be able to bring great partners like Energiya Global and Georgia Power together. This solar deal is a significant milestone in the long-standing, close relationship between Israel and the Southeast U.S.”

Energiya USA is also creating a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiative program in conjunction with its partners for the local Glynn County school system. The program will include after school enrichment programs with an emphasis on renewable energy.

Energiya USA is an affiliate of Jerusalem-based Energiya Global Capital, an international solar developer with projects worldwide. Project Glynn was created in cooperation with The Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority.

"The Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority is elated to have been selected by Energiya USA to be their premier site for this important endeavor.  Moreover, we are thrilled that they want to engage with the community to assist our youth and educational systems in STEM endeavors (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  These programs and projects will further strengthen our commitment to technical workforce development." said Bruce Dixon, Chair of the Development Authority Board of Governors.

“In the wake of the global climate talks in Lima, the time has arrived for the United States to demonstrate leadership when it comes to renewable energy, and we are proud, as an Israeli company, to help America achieve its potential,” said Yosef I. Abramowitz, CEO of Energiya Global Capital, the parent of Energiya USA, which won the project. “Investments in solar power result in positive social and environmental impact, while also yielding an attractive return to our investors.”

Energiya Global, along with its partners, launched a landmark 8.5 megawatt solar field in Rwanda – the first in East Africa – in February.

Energiya Global Capital is a multinational solar energy company that was founded with the purpose of bringing new sources of power to Africa and other underserved and emerging markets. Founded in December 2010, Energiya Global is led by a world-class team that includes seasoned project developers, financiers, and strategists. Energiya Global’s goal is to provide electricity to 50 million people worldwide by 2022. EG is a founding partner of the United States Government’s Power Africa Beyond the Grid initiative.

Photo credit: Adina Halevi Photography

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 1.46.01 PM

Tony Blair: new solar power plant in Rwanda is symbolic

Thursday, Feb 12, 2015

"The $23m project, which adds 8.5MW to the national grid, was developed by Gigawatt Global after Rwanda’s first competitive process for private investment in the energy sector. It was negotiated by those in working as part of the SCBI in the Rwanda Development Board and Rwanda’s Energy Utility.

It is situated on land owned by 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.  As part of the visit, Tony Blair also spoke to young people at the Village."

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READ MORE: http://www.tonyblairoffice.org/news/entry/tony-blair-new-solar-power-plant-in-rwanda-is-symbolic/
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rem

Rwanda Banks On Clean Energy to Achieve Growth Target

Monday, 09 February 2015

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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allafricalogo

Rwanda Banks On Clean Energy to Achieve Growth Target

 

Infrastructure minister James Musoni has reiterated government's interest in exploring clean energy, particularly solar power, to achieve its development targets.

Musoni, who was yesterday unveiling a new solar photovoltaic power plant in Rwamagana District, said energy remains a salient resource for both current and future generation.

The $23.7 million utility-scale plant, the first of its kind in the region and the third in Africa after the ones in South Africa and Mauritius, was commissioned last year. It's construction was funded by a consortium of institutions.

Developed by The Netherlands-based company, Gigawatt Global, the solar plant adds some 8.5 megawatts to the national electricity grid.

"It is important to note that solar energy (on-grid and off-grid) remains a key component of our current and future generation. There is equally a great deal of investment potential in the roll-out of off-grid solar systems country-wide," Minister Musoni said.

READ MORE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201502060081.html

cleantechnica

1st Utility-Scale Solar Energy Project In East Africa Now Online — Rwanda’s Total Grid Capacity Surges 6%

February 9th, 2015 by 

The first utility-scale solar energy project in the whole of East Africa — Gigawatt Global’s 8.5 gigawatt (GW) solar project at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village — is now online.

The completion of the project boosted Rwanda’s total electric grid capacity by ~6%. The project represents the first instance of a utility-scale project reaching financial closure and coming online under the Africa Clean Energy Finance program. Read more:

The Jerusalem Post logo

Where would I be if not here

ShowImage

Yosef Abramowitz (center), Gigawatt Global’s president and co-founder, stands with Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village students at the opening of East Africa’s first solar field on Wednesday. (photo credit:SHARON UDASIN)

 

"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."

READ MORE -> http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Where-would-I-belong-if-not-here-390211
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REUTERS

Gigawatt Global plans 1,000 MW solar power in Africa by 2020.

"KIGALI (Reuters) - Dutch company Gigawatt Global said on Thursday it will spend $2 billion to generate 1,000 megawatts of solar power in Africa by 2020 after launching the largest photovoltaic field in East Africa at a village in Rwanda.

 

African nations are racing to mobilise funds to invest in new power plants and utilities after decades of under investment left huge swathes of their populations without electricity.

Located 60 km (37 miles) outside the capital of Kigali, the solar field built at a cost of $23.7 million will produce 8.5 megawatts and increase Rwanda's power generation capacity by about 6 percent, said Yosef Abramowitz, Gigawatt's president.

The money was raised from equity investors and lenders, he said, and the government offered strong incentives to build.

Abramowitz said other countries such as Burundi could benefit from the planned power generation expansion.

Power from Rwanda's photovoltaic field will connect more people to the grid in the country of about 11 million people where only 22 percent of the population have access to electricity."

READ MORE -> http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFKBN0LA0T220150206
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Recharge

Rwanda cuts ribbon at landmark 8.5MW PV plant

"JERUSALEM (JTA) — The first utility-scale solar power field in East Africa, built on land belonging to a Jewish-sponsored youth village in Rwanda, was launched.

The nearly $24 million project was financed and constructed by Gigawatt Global.
Yosef Abramowitz, Gigawatt president, also is CEO of Energiya Global Capital, Gigawatt’s Israeli affiliate, which provided seed money and strategic assistance for the project.
The Rwanda field — constructed in the shape of the African continent — was built on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The village for orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and after was founded by the late Anne Heyman, who died a year ago in a horse-riding accident.

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 also will be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village."

READ MORE -> http://www.jta.org/2015/02/06/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/jewish-sponsored-youth-village-in-rwanda-hosts-first-utility-scale-solar-power-field
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JTA logo

Jewish-sponsored youth village in Rwanda hosts first utility-scale solar power field.

"JERUSALEM (JTA) — The first utility-scale solar power field in East Africa, built on land belonging to a Jewish-sponsored youth village in Rwanda, was launched.

The nearly $24 million project was financed and constructed by Gigawatt Global.
Yosef Abramowitz, Gigawatt president, also is CEO of Energiya Global Capital, Gigawatt’s Israeli affiliate, which provided seed money and strategic assistance for the project.
The Rwanda field — constructed in the shape of the African continent — was built on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The village for orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and after was founded by the late Anne Heyman, who died a year ago in a horse-riding accident.

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 also will be providing training on solar power to students of the Liquidnet High School on the grounds of the Youth Village."

READ MORE -> http://www.jta.org/2015/02/06/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/jewish-sponsored-youth-village-in-rwanda-hosts-first-utility-scale-solar-power-field
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tower

Israel-Linked Company Dedicates Largest Solar Field in Africa

"A company with Israeli ties dedicated the largest solar field in Africa on Thursday. The solar field was built in Rwanda by Gigawatt Global, whose president is Israeli solar power pioneer Yosef Abramowitz, in Rwanda. The land for the solar field is owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The youth village serves an orphanage for victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

[...]

Abramowitz credit the late Anne Heyman, founder of the youth village, with the idea. Abramowitz built a similar solar field in Israel on the land of Kibbutz Ketura, located in Israel’s Arava region. Gigawatt Global is currently in negotiations with the African nation of Burundi to build a similar field.

READ MORE -> http://www.thetower.org/1614-israel-linked-company-dedicates-largest-solar-field-in-africa/
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The Jerusalem Post logo

In Israel, US sees opportunity for green tech and development

"When it comes to renewables, OPIC sees Israel as a source of innovation in both technology and businesses that can help people in developing countries.

“Renewable energy is critical in our discussion on how we address climate change, yes, but also how we get economies in developing energy to leapfrog the developed economies,” said Brian O’Hanlon, the director for business development for renewable energy at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a branch of the US government that mobilizes private capital for development purposes.

The term “leapfrogging” refers to the phenomenon of developing countries adopting new advanced technologies, skipping over the older technologies that are common in the process.

One of its most substantial investments was in a Jerusalem-based company’s project to build an 8.5-megawatt solar field in Rwanda, the first in East Africa.

That company, Energiya Global, is led by Yosef Abramowitz, who is chairing the Eilat-Eilot conference."

READ MORE -> http://www.jpost.com/Business/In-Israel-US-sees-opportunity-for-green-tech-and-development-383565
The Jerusalem Post logo

Israel's Energiya to build solar field in Georgia

The US affiliate of Israeli solar company Energiya won a $30 million contract to build a 17.68 MW solar field in southeast Georgia. It will be the first utility level solar field in that part of the state.

The 79-acre field will be constructed in Glynn County, Georgia and is expected to be interconnected by the last day of 2015. The power purchase agreement with the Georgia Power company promised 20 years of power.

“Georgia Power is pleased to work with Energiya Global, and its US affiliate, Energiya USA, as part of the Advanced Solar Initiative,” said Norrie McKenzie, Vice President of Renewable Development, at Georgia Power Company.

“With a shared commitment to innovative, clean energy solutions, our customers will benefit from this partnership today and in the future.”

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal visited Israel in June with a delegation focused on economic cooperation.

“This is the 20th year that Georgia has had a trade relationship with Israel, which has been proven to be successful for both sides,” Deal said at the time.

According to Energiya USA CEO David M. Herskovits, the project is the first of a dozen the company plans to launch in the southeast US. Energiya made headlines this year by securing financing for building a utility-level solar field in Rwanda, the first such project in east Africa.

The deal comes just days after global powers agreed to a format for coordinating climate change action in Lima, Peru.

“In the wake of the global climate talks in Lima, the time has arrived for the United States to demonstrate leadership when it comes to renewable energy, and we are proud, as an Israeli company, to help America achieve its potential,” said Jerusalem- based Energiya Global Capital CEO Yosef Abramowitz, sometimes referred to as “Captain Sunshine.”

Abramowitz, who ran for president, said he had been approached by political parties to run for Knesset in the upcoming elections.

“I am honored that there is interest in my running for Knesset, but right now I am more interested in seeing that every political party sign on to a pledge of 20 percent renewables for Israel by 2020,” he told The Jerusalem Post, before adding, “unless it’s a really good offer that could lead to becoming the next energy minister.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/New-Tech/Israels-Energiya-to-build-solar-field-in-Georgia-384734
REUTERS
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 13 (Reuters)

AFRICA INVESTMENT - Africa turns to sunshine to meet surging power demand

By Helen Nyambura-Mwaura

[...]

RWANDA NOW 7 PERCENT SOLAR

There is also a movement on the world's poorest continent towards green alternatives such as geothermal, solar and wind, with some countries using incentives such as decades-long power purchase agreements to entice independent producers.

Some are also working on legislation to govern purchases of solar power from small producers. Kenya is piloting a metering project with privately run Strathmore University to import surplus electricity from a 600kW roof-top plant.

In Rwanda, U.S.-based Gigawatt Global connected an 8.5 MW farm on rolling green hills east of Kigali to the grid earlier this year. The $24 million farm now accounts for 7 percent of Rwanda's power supply.

Gigawatt Global's Sarah Halevi said the company was seeing strong demand in both west and east Africa. The company plans to build 200MW within the next 18 months in Nigeria and is targeting a 1000MW pipeline by 2020. (Editing by Ed Stoddard and Catherine Evans)

READ MORE:  http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/11/13/africa-investment-idINL6N0T13K020141113
PLANET
November 4, 2014

SPECIAL EVENT: Peace activist talks Israel and Palestine

BY KELSEY DAYTON

110514special.gershon

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – Ben Scher doesn’t care what Gershon Baskin talks about when he speaks to the junior’s current affairs class and Model United Nations Club at Jackson Hole Community School.

“He can do any talk he wants to and I’m looking forward to it,” Scher said.

Baskin is a peace activist who initiated the secret back channels used between Israel and Hamas that led to the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. He wrote about the secret negotiations, published last year in English, in the book “The Negotiator — Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas.”

Baskin returns to Jackson for the second consecutive year as a guest of the Jackson Hole Jewish Community group to speak about conflict resolution and negotiating skills. In addition to the school presentations, he will also address the public in a free talk at 6 p.m. on Monday at the Black Box Theater in the Center for the Arts.

“It’s life-changing for these kids to work with someone at this level about negotiating with hostile partners,” said Mary Grossman, Jackson Hole Jewish Community executive director.

The Jackson Hole Jewish Community brought Baskin to Jackson last year, and decided it was worth bringing him back to talk with more students.

Grossman said there is value in bringing Baskin back for a second year as the Israel-Gaza conflict in August was in the news, and with social media changing discourse, there was a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding. People had strong, but uninformed opinions.

“This would be the guy to come listen to, to understand what really happened,” she said. ”This is the guy to sort things out.”

Baskin is considered a Hamas expert and while his views are progressive he’s a balanced speaker, Grossman said. His visit provides a rare opportunity to hear someone with his experience and expertise speak.

Scher and other students who heard Baskin last year recognized how lucky they were to hear someone like him talk about international affairs.

“The things he’s done in his life are absolutely incredible and he was able to share them with us,” Scher said. “He’s been in the thick of it. We hear about Israel and Palestine, but to get to hear from someone who’s been incredibly important and played an important role is amazing.”

Baskin is able to take the complex issue of Israel and Palestine and make it understandable. He also presented the issues in an objective way.

“It’s incredible how complicated these issues are,” Scher said. “We look at them from this media bias and this bias we have just being American and out of the fray of what’s going on. He gives us the point of view of ‘this is what it’s like to be living it.’ ”

Even though Scher heard Baskin last year, he’s excited to listen to him again. Global issues are always changing and there is always something new to learn, Scher said.

And while Baskin is an expert on Israel and Palestine, Scher has questions about other international affairs he’s curious to get his take on, such as global warming as a security issue, the Islamic State group and Russia.

Baskin is the vice president of Gigawatt Global, a company developing mid- and large-scale commercial solar energy projects in Palestine and Egypt. He’s also a consultant for the USAID Trade Project implemented by Deloitte International.

Baskin served as the Israeli co-director of a public policy think tank, the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, which he co-founded in 1988 and remained involved with until 2011. Baskin founded the organization after 10 years of working in Jewish-Arab relations in Israel with Interns for Peace and as director of the Institute for Education for Jewish-Arab Coexistence. He still serves on its board of directors.

Baskin’s impressive resume also includes time as an advisor on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to a secret team of intelligence officers. He also was a member of the Jerusalem Experts Committee established by the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office during the final status negotiations in 2000-01 and is a member of the steering committee of the Palestinian-Israeli Peace NGO Forum and a member of the Alliance for Middle East Peace. He also serves on the editorial board of the Palestinian Israeli Journal and is a member of the Israeli Council for Peace and Security.

Baskin received the Histadrut Prize for Peace in 1996, the Turkish Foreign Policy Institute Peace Prize in 2004, the Tribute of Honor and Courage from the World Movement for Democracy in 2004 and the Search for Common Ground Journalist Award for Middle East Journalism in 2005 and 2007.

Gershon Baskin, 6 p.m. on Monday, Black Box Theater, Center for the Arts, Free.

READ MORE: http://planetjh.com/2014/11/04/special-event-peace-activist-talks-israel-and-palestine/

Intelligent building logo
October 31, 2014

Israel embarks on greentech partnership with Rwanda

BY LEIGHANN MORRIS

RwandaGreen-300x225

Israel is lending its cleantech experience to help Rwanda save millions of dollars a year through recycling and green technology.
Rwanda will save more than $400,000 annually from collecting and recycling water, use of solar energy, and use of technology to save papers. Rwanda will spend $1.8 million to facilitate the programme, referred to as the Green Parliament, where the Knesset will share its expertise.[...]
The Knesset is also helping with paper saving techniques by using internet in committee discussions and plenaries instead of piles of printed papers. Rwanda has 106 legislators – all with 3G connected laptops. Over 50,000 pages per year will be saved.
Energiya Global, the world’s leading investor in solar fields, has invested $23.7m in an 8.5MW plant.

READ MORE: http://www.intelligentbuildingtoday.com/2014/10/31/israel-embarks-on-greentech-partnership-with-rwanda/

Jewish Business News
October 19, 2014

Israel Helping Rwanda With Green Technology

BY GIL TANENBAUM

Israel is helping the poor east African nation of Rwanda save millions of dollars a year through recycling and green technology.

For its first twenty five years in existence, Israel engaged in a massive program to bring its agricultural expertise to the African continent. Israelis, many of whom had pioneered new farming techniques on kibbutzim, went to Africa to share their knowledge.

But this program came to a sudden end after 1973’s Yom Kippur War when Arab Nations put pressure on African Nations to sever all ties with Israel.

Today the Israel-Africa relationship has made a comeback. [...]

The Israeli delegation in Rwanda last week visited the Kigali Memorial Center, where 300,000 Tutsi genocide victims are laid. Plot said: “We are not only brothers, but twins. We share a common destiny.”

Energiya Global, the world’s leading investor in solar fields, has invested $23.7m in a 8.5MW plant.

READ MORE: http://jewishbusinessnews.com/2014/10/19/israel-helping-rwanda-with-green-technology/

 

Digital Journal
KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 17, 2014

KT Press Reports on the Growing Israel-Rwanda Love Story

PR NEWSWIRE

Rwanda's president Paul Kagame was in Israel last year for high-level meetings with PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Kagame and the First Lady attended the fifth Israel Presidential Conference hosted by Israel President Shimon Peres and former US president, Bill Clinton.

Energiya Global, the world's leading investor in solar fields, has invested $23.7m in a 8.5MW plant.

Israel Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman was in Rwanda in June. Rwanda is set to open an embassy in Tel Aviv soon.

The late Ann Heyman, a Jewish philanthropist, set up Agahozo Youth Village, for genocide orphans – now among the top high schools in Rwanda.

READ MORE: http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/2266341

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October 21, 2014

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.

BY DAVID SHAMAH

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.”

Abramowitz, whose Twitter handle is @kaptainsunshine, knows from solar energy: Along with partners David Rosenblatt, Ed Hofland, he established Israel’s largest solar field to generate electricity in Kibbutz Ketura, and he was the first to sign a deal with the government for commercial production of solar-generated electricity.

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February 17, 2014

Gigawatt Global Finalizes Money to Build Rwanda’s First Commercial Solar Field

By Sara Toth Stubb

Special to DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

Gigawatt Global Cooperatief, an American-Dutch solar power company, said Monday it has finalized financing needed to build Rwanda’s first commercial solar power plant.

Netherlands-based Gigawatt, which has significant U.S. ownership, said it has finalized $23.7 million in funding for an 8.5 megawatt field near Kigali, which will be connected to the national grid and supply about 8% of the country’s electricity.

The Rwandan government has agreed to purchase the solar-generated power for 25 years.

About $400,000 of the money is from a grant from the U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s Power Africa program. It is the first grant made under the Power Africa program, which President Barack Obama started last year with the pledge to spend $7 billion to help increase electricity access in Africa, Gigawatt executives said.

Other financing comes from the Norwegian development finance institution Norfund and the Dutch development bank FMO.

The project, already under construction and expected to be operational in the summer, will be the first utility-scale solar field in all of East Africa. The project will help the Rwandan government, which mainly relies on hydro- and diesel-fueled electricity, cut its energy costs, reduce pollution and reduce the number of blackouts, Gigawatt said at a news conference in Jerusalem, where its research and development arm, Energiya Global, is based.

“This field represents hope for humanity and the environment,” Gigawatt president Yosef Abramowitz said.

The Rwandan energy and water minister, Emma Francoise Isumbingabo said in a statement that the solar field will help close the country’s energy gap and reduce its frequent blackouts.

Gigawatt, which has preliminarily secured about $800 million in financing for all its future projects, says it has several other projects in its pipeline, mostly in developing countries.

Gigawatt was founded in 2011 by founders of the Arava Power Co., which operates five solar fields in Israel.

Write to Sara Toth Stub at realtimedesklondon@dowjones.com

Gigawatt Global Finalizes Money to Build Rwanda's First Commercial Solar Field

 

AP_RGB
(Associated Press)

Consortium to build large solar field in Rwanda

February 17, 2014 1:25 PM

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Dutch company said Monday it has begun construction of a solar field in Rwanda in what it said would be the first such large-scale project in eastern Africa.

Gigawatt Global Coopereratief said it had closed the $23.7 million financing for the project and that construction began last week.

Yosef Abramowitz, president of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global Capital, Gigawatt's Israeli affiliate, said the 8.5 megawatt project will provide 8 percent of Rwanda's electricity. It is expected to go online this summer.

Rwanda, like many parts of Africa, suffers from dire shortages of electricity. The government aims to bring electricity to 50 percent of the population by 2017.

Abramowitz said the project is "proof positive" that building a utility-scale solar field in Africa is feasible. "We believe in power for the people who need it most. Now we've shown it's commercially viable," he said.

Consortium members include the Norwegian government's development fund Norfund, Norwegian-based Scatec Solar, Dutch development bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. It also includes grant money from the British, Finnish, Austrian and American governments.

The field is being built on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a facility built for youth orphaned by the 1994 Rwandan genocide and modeled after an Israeli post-Holocaust orphanage.

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February 17, 2014

Gigawatt Global to build East Africa’s largest solar field

JERUSALEM, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Dutch company Gigawatt Global said on Monday it has broken ground on the largest solar energy field in East Africa after securing $23.7 million to build the 8.5 megawatt photovoltaic plant at a youth village in Rwanda.

Located 60 km (37 miles) outside the capital of Kigali, the solar field will increase Rwanda’s power generation capacity by about 8 percent, said Yosef Abramowitz, Gigawatt president and CEO of Israeli affiliate Energiya Global that sourced the deal and provided seed money.

He said Gigawatt has a further $1 billion of projects in the pipeline for emerging markets.

“The deal (in Rwanda) itself is incredibly complex, the first field is always the hardest in any market,” Abramowitz told reporters.

The money was raised from a group of equity investors and lenders, he said, and the government offered strong incentives for speed.

“They need energy quickly, they need energy reliably,” said Chaim Motzen, Gigawatt Global managing director, adding that the project is expected to be online this summer.

The electricity will be fed into the national grid under a 25-year agreement with the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority, the company said, but would not disclose financial details of the deal.

The land for the solar field is leased from the Agahozo-Shalom youth village for orphans of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, it said.

(Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch)

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First E. African utility scale solar field, run by J’lemites, reaches financial close

(Jerusalem Post)

02/17/2014 15:07

Company CEO: “Today we’re realizing what everyone said would be impossible – creating a viable, commercial scale solar industry for East Africa.”

Kagame

Rwandan President Paul Kagame Photo: GIGAWATT GLOBAL

Tractors have broken ground and financial agreements have closed on East Africa’s first utility- scale solar field, an 8.5-megawatt oasis being built under the leadership ofJerusalem-based entrepreneurs.

“Today we’re realizing what everyone said would be impossible – creating a viable, commercial- scale solar industry for East Africa,” said Yosef Abramowitz, president of Gigawatt Global Coöperatief and CEO of Energiya Global, at a Jerusalem press conference on Monday. “The necessity to do so is huge.”

Gigawatt Global achieved financial close on the $23.7 million field on Friday, and has already begun its construction in the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village for Rwandan orphans, located about 60 km.

from Kigali.

The electricity is to be fed into the national grid under a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Rwandan Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority, and commercial operation is expected to begin this summer.

The project is being financed by equity investors and debt providers including Norwegian development finance institution Norfund, Norwegian- headquartered Scatec Solar, Dutch development bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. Additional grant funding came from the Energy and Environment Partnership in Europe and the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

With a population of about 11 million people, Rwanda currently has an installed grid capacity of only about 100 MWs, derived from approximately 54 percent hydroelectric and 46% diesel sources and soon a small percentage methane gas.

As a basis of comparison, Israel’s 8 million-person population enjoys an installed grid capacity of around 13,000 MWs.

“Generation and provision of electricity to all Rwandans is important for the government of Rwanda,” said Rwandan Minister of State in Charge of Energy and Water Emma Francoise Isumbingabo. “This initiative to produce 8.5 MWs is a good addition toward closing the current energy gap.”

American-Israeli Abramowitz, known as the country’s “Captain Sunshine,” founded the US-owned, Dutch solar developer Gigawatt Global and its Jerusalem-based Israeli research and development arm Energiya Global with an aim to “kill diesel” and bring solar energy to the developing world.

Cofounder of the domestic Arava Power Company as well, Abramowitz and his partners were responsible for the construction of Israel’s first grid-connected, medium-sized solar field, which came online at Ketura, a kibbutz, in June 2011.

New Jersey businessman David Rosenblatt and Ketura resident Ed Hofland cofounded both companies with Abramowitz and joined Howie Rodenstein, the advisory board chairman, in establishing Gigawatt.

The company first began working on the Rwandan project in February 2012, originally envisaging the plans as a small facility to provide electricity for the village, said Chaim Motzen, managing director of Gigawatt Global and the project’s leader.

Due to increasing Rwandan governmental encouragement for renewable energy development, these plans changed, however, and Gigawatt Global soon signed a memorandum of understanding with the government for the larger field, and a feasibility study was completed by the end of 2012.

From February 2013 through July, the company negotiated terms with the government and ultimately signed a power purchase agreement at the end of this period. Gigawatt reached financial close on the field in under seven months, on Friday, February 14.

With confidence that the project would close, construction of the field actually began three days prior. “The Rwandan government really wanted this done quickly,” Motzen said.

The firm was incentivized to get the field on the grid quickly because for every day that they do not do so, they lose, he said.

Rwanda, a country with a suitable climate, excellent business environment and availability of strong partners, is the perfect first choice for Gigawatt’s solar field, according to Motzen.

“This is a country that needs the energy desperately,” he said.

Stressing how much the country depends on expensive diesel, Motzen said that “solar in Rwanda makes sense without subsidies.”

The Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village was established in December 2008 by Jewish South African-American attorney and philanthropist Anne Heyman, who died tragically in a horse riding accident three weeks ago, on January 31.

The village, which applies Israeli methods for coping with traumatized youth to Rwandan orphans, is the ideal site for the country’s first solar field, Heyman said during a June 2013 progress report meeting on the Rwandan project in Jerusalem, held in the presence of Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

“It’s such a perfect match for Agahozo-Shalom to be a place where we will be able to bring alternative energy,” Heyman said at the time.

With tears in his eyes at a Jerusalem meeting with investors on Monday morning, prior to the press conference, Abramowitz said that “just days after her accident, the tractors began building.”

“I personally am forever committed to the village,” he said.

Kagame, who at the time stressed how Rwanda feels “very much closely associated with Israel,” said that developing energy sources in the country will help positively impact the lives of his people.

Praising the project’s location, which was modeled after post-Holocaust Israeli orphan villages, President Shimon Peressaid that the solar field will constitute “an important stride in our mission for Tikkun Olam – making the world a better place.”

“This wonderful initiative will serve as a shining beacon of hope and progress for humanity, and as an example of what Israel can contribute to the developing world,” Peres said.

First East African utility scale solar field, run by J’lem firm, reaches financial close

financial times logo

Rwanda is set to become the first country in east Africa with a utility-scale solar plant after a $24m deal was signed to build the scheme outside Kigali, the capital.

The 8.5 megawatt solar photovoltaic project is the brainchild of American-Israeli green entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, a pioneer of Israel’s solar industry. It is expected to boost Rwanda’s electricity supply by 8 per cent once it starts operating this year.

Mr Abramowitz, chief executive of the Energiya Global Capital group that provided seed capital for the project, said he hoped it would prove that commercially viable solar plants can be built throughout Africa, where 550m people lack access to electricity.

“The human race bears a moral and practical imperative to provide power for all, while also transitioning from burning fossil fuels to harnessing renewables,” he said.

“It will be the first in a series of large fields we are planning in the coming 24 months.”

The Rwandan solar plant is being financed by a consortium of equity investors and debt providers including Dutch development bank FMO and Norwegian development body Norfund. It also received grants from bodies funded by governments including the UK and US.

The plant’s electricity will be fed into the national grid under a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority.

The Rwandan government is aiming to connect half its population of 11m people to electricity by 2017. It says access to power has increased from 6 per cent of the population in 2008 to 16 per cent in 2012.

A large share of Rwanda’s electricity comes from hydropower schemes but like many African countries it also relies heavily on diesel generation.

The plant will be located 60km from Kigali on land belonging to a village for young people orphaned during and after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

The scheme’s developer is Gigawatt Global, a Dutch company, of which Mr Abramowitz is president. Energiya Global is an Israeli affiliate of Gigawatt Global.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/d0bcd6aa-9990-11e3-91cd-00144feab7de.html#axzz2tqafTyHO 

 

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Israel's Energiya Global to solar Power 8 percent of Rwanda

An Israeli renewable energy activist is bringing solar power to Rwanda after securing nearly $24 million in funding and grants.

Yosef Abramowitz, an Israeli-American solar energy pioneer and cofounder of Arava Power Company in Israel, has begun making inroads into solar-powering Africa.Today, Abramowitz and his companies Gigawatt Global and Energiya Global announced that they have secured $23 million in financing and about $710,000 in grants for an 8.5-megawatt solar energy plant in Rwanda.

The deal was announced in Jerusalem at a press briefing. An international consortium of investors has connected to underwrite and then build what is being hailed as East Africa’s first utility-scale solar field.Abramowitz is the president of Gigawatt Global Coöperatief and is currently the CEO of Energiya Global, Gigawatt’s Israeli affiliate that provided seed money and strategic guidance for the African project.Together the companies closed financing from the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund Norfund, Dutch development bank FMO, Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and the Norwegian engineering and procurement contractor Scatec.

The project, to be built on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, will provide training for orphans raised there, and is expected to supply about eight percent of Rwanda’s energy needs.

The photovoltaic power project will include sun trackers to optimize collection, and is expected to help Rwanda wean itself from polluting diesel oil, which also has devastating health effects.Abramowitz tells ISRAEL21c that Energiya Global is following the triple bottom line formula: “It’s a social impact model of how for-profit green energy business can bring humanitarian and environmental benefits,” he told us in an exclusive interview shortly before the international press conference in Jerusalem.

Grants for expenses include $400,000 from US President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative, and an EU grant of $310,000 from the Energy and Environment Partnership (EEP), a partnership of the British, Finnish and Austrian governments.Energiya Global installed the first two kilowatts of solar energy for Rwanda in February last year in a trial run at the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. This refuge for orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide was founded on the model of Yemin Orde, a successful program in Israel that began by caring for child refugees of the Holocaust.Abramowitz says the project will be online this summer and will connect to the country’s electricity grid. Rwanda has agreed to buy the power created in this first deal over the next 25 years.The initial site will be also a testing ground for planning and developing future projects in Rwanda and East Africa. “We are hoping to deploy a billion dollars worth of solar energy in the next three to five years in developing countries to kill diesel use,” Abramowitz tells ISRAEL21c.

He emphasizes that the current project is good for investors.“It’s phenomenal for Rwanda because our energy is much cheaper than diesel. And then obviously we will get support from the youth village in charitable fundraising to give them the benefit of training. This way, graduates of the village will be able to spread the knowledge of bringing solar power all over Rwanda and then East Africa.”Agahozo-Shalom has been key in orchestrating this deal, says Abramowitz. “We have an amazing partner in this youth village. It was formed in the aftermath of genocide and the government there has been trying to take their people from darkness to light, like the Jewish people had to do after the Holocaust. It is also a wonderful place to do business.”

Abramowitz is a cofounder of the Arava Power Company, which he helped start in 2006. Arava built a utility-scale solar energy field in Israel, the first of its kind in the country, at Kibbutz Ketura.It was uphill every step of the way for Abramowitz, who had to coordinate –– and trail blaze –– among no fewer than 24 Israeli ministries.“Israel was unfortunately a perfect training ground to overcome obstacles. I had to work between 24 government offices and waged 100 political statutory battles. In turns out that in Africa there are far fewer government offices,” he relates.

On top of that, “we developed a robust toolkit to overcome all objections and obstacles because of the difficulties and successes in Israel. This makes us qualified for East Africa,” he adds.Rwanda is still recovering from the 1994 genocide and urgently needs power to fuel its economic growth. This will mark the first utility-scale solar PV project in the country. Another 20 megawatts are planned for a later stage.Today, only 15 percent of the population has access to electricity, but the country aims to have 50% connected by 2017.

A substantial part of that will be provided by renewable energy, like solar.Ambitious? Not if you ask this solar energy pioneer.“It takes a global village to raise a solar revolution,” said Abramowitz later at the press conference in Jerusalem. “There are 550 million people in Africa without electricity. Economic growth in developing markets depends on access to affordable, green power.

“The human race bears a moral and practical imperative to provide power for all, while also transitioning from burning fossil fuels to harnessing renewables. The Rwanda solar field serves as a proof-of-concept to successfully develop and finance commercial-scale solar fields throughout Africa and in the developing world.“It is a game-changer for humanity and the environment.”

 

bloomberg logo

A Dutch company said Monday it has begun construction of a solar field in Rwanda in what it said would be the first such large-scale project in eastern Africa.

Gigawatt Global Coopereratief said it had closed the $23.7 million financing for the project and that construction began last week.

Yosef Abramowitz, president of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global Capital, Gigawatt's Israeli affiliate, said the 8.5 megawatt project will provide 8 percent of Rwanda's electricity. It is expected to go online this summer.

Rwanda, like many parts of Africa, suffers from dire shortages of electricity. The government aims to bring electricity to 50 percent of the population by 2017.

Abramowitz said the project is "proof positive" that building a utility-scale solar field in Africa is feasible. "We believe in power for the people who need it most. Now we've shown it's commercially viable," he said.

Consortium members include the Norwegian government's development fund Norfund, Norwegian-based Scatec Solar, Dutch development bank FMO and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund. It also includes grant money from the British, Finnish, Austrian and American governments.

The field is being built on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a facility built for youth orphaned by the 1994 Rwandan genocide and modeled after an Israeli post-Holocaust orphanage.

Jewishpresslogo
 The first utility-scale solar power field in East Africa will be built on land belonging to a Jewish-sponsored youth village in Rwanda. The nearly $24 million project was announced Monday by Yosef Abramowitz, the president of Gigawatt Global Cooperatief, which arranged for its financing. Construction has already started on the solar field on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village  for orphans from the 1994 Rwandan genocide and founded by the late Anne Heyman, who died earlier this month in a horse-riding accident in Florida.
The Times of Israel Logo

Israeli group kicks off $23m energy project in Rwanda

Tractors break ground, finances close as Energiya Global helps build East Africa’s first commercial-scale solar field

Israelis, like other Westerners, have very little idea of the electricity challenges Rwanda and other developing African countries face. The East African country currently has a power capacity of just more than 100 megawatts for more than 11 million people — many of whom have no access to electricity. Israel, on the other hand, has about 13,000 megawatts of power available for its 8 million residents.

That’s one reason why Israeli entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, in his capacity as president of Gigawatt Global and CEO of Energiya Global, is doing something to help. After an agreement with an international consortium of equity investors and debt providers, Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch solar developer, is planning a $23.7 million project to address Rwanda’s power issues.

The company will build an 8.5-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant. Energiya Global, Gigawatt Global’s Israeli affiliate, provided seed money and strategic guidance for the Rwanda project, according to a news release.

“It’s an emotional and exciting day for us, and we hope for the world,” said Abramowitz, speaking at an event Monday in Jerusalem where the project was officially announced. Abramowitz is one of the pioneers of Israel’s solar energy industry; his Arava Power Company established Israel’s largest solar field in Kibbutz Ketura.

Tractors have already broken ground for construction of the solar plant and field in Rwanda. It is expected to be operational by this summer.

“I’ve been in this movie before,” Abramowitz said with a laugh, “where everybody said it would be impossible… Today, we’re realizing what everyone said was going to be impossible, which is creating a viable, commercial-scale solar industry in East Africa.”

Although this initiative will provide more people with electricity, Abramowitz thinks it’s about more than that. Up to 9 percent of the world’s energy is produced by burning diesel, the most expensive and pollutive power source, he said — and its use is especially common in developing countries. In his words, “the poorest people on the planet are essentially enslaved to pay the highest electricity costs.”

Such is the case in Rwanda as well. Hydroelectric power provides a portion of Rwanda’s electricity, but the largest amount of power production comes from burning diesel fuel; any alternative method is important, according to Abramowitz.

The project will be East Africa’s first commercial-scale solar field and is expected to increase the country’s power capacity by 8 percent. Rwanda’s government, which hopes to connect at least half the country’s population to its electrical grid by 2017, committed to a 25-year purchase agreement.

The field will be built about 60 kilometers from Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, on land owned by the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village. The village, which houses and educates young Rwandans who were orphaned as a result of the 1994 genocide, is leasing out land for the solar field to help finance part of the its expenses.

Agahozo-Shalom was founded by Anne Heyman, a Jewish South African-born philanthropist who died recently in a horse-riding accident. She modeled the villages after similar havens that were established for orphans in Israel after the Holocaust. An emotional Abramowitz announced the solar project will honor her memory.

About 600 million people throughout Africa don’t have access to electricity. Abramowitz hopes this first commercial-scale solar field will spark a change throughout the continent. “We look forward to other African countries looking to Rwanda as an example,” he said.

The project was partially financed through two grants. The first being the Overseas Private Investment Corporation under President Barack Obama’s Power Africa Initiative. The other was the Energy and Environment Partnership, which includes the British, Finnish and Austrian governments. The grants totaled more than $700,000; 75 percent of the project is being financed through debt, and the rest through equity investors.

“This is a triple win for investors,” Abramowitz said. “They make money, they do good for humanity, and they help with efforts to prevent climate change” by cutting down on the burning of fossil fuels.

Gigawatt Global started work on this project in February 2012, and presented a feasibility study in December 2012, which the Rwandan government approved. Negotiations took place between February and July 2013, and on July 22, the project’s agreement was signed.

An RFP process drew 17 bidders for the project’s engineering work but ultimately Scatec Solar of Norway was chosen to complete the job, partly because of the speed it guaranteed. The project’s financial close was reached on Friday.

“We were told it was unrealistic, naïve, to finish on this timeline, but it’s done,” Motzen said.

Many other countries have approached Energiya Global and Gigawatt Global about their solar expertise, but for now, the companies are focused on the Rwanda project.

“(Rwanda) just made business sense, frankly,” Motzen said. “It’s a country that needs energy desperately. They’re paying exorbitantly for diesel. Rwanda makes sense for solar without subsidies.”

Read more: Israeli group kicks off $23m energy project in Rwanda | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-group-kicks-off-23m-energy-project-in-rwanda/#ixzz2u9Rxnvlh

 

 

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Global consortium collaborates on 8.5 MW Rwanda solar plant

The consortium is being led by Norway's Scatec Solar and Dutch developer Gigawatt Global Cooperatief, with additional funding from U.K., U.S., Finnish and Austrian governments.

Read more: http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/global-consortium-collaborates-on-85-mw-rwanda-solar-plant_100014270/#ixzz2u9T8Jp3p

 

 

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Scatec Solar to help develop Rwanda PV Project

Global solar energy company Scatec Solar has partnered with the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) and Dutch developer Gigawatt Global Coöperatief to close $23.7 million financing on an 8.5MW solar photovoltaic (PV) solar park in Rwanda

Scatec Solar to help develop Rwanda PV Project

The project will become East Africa’s first utility-scale solar plant and will increase Rwanda’s power generation capacity by around 8 percent. This will in turn contribute significantly towards the government’s objective to increase the country’s electric generation capacity fivefold by 2017.

The plant will be located 60 kilometres from the Rwandan capital of Kigali on land belonging to the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), a residential and educational community for youth orphaned during and after the genocide of 1994. Annual electricity generation is estimated at 16 million kWh fed into the national grid under a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Rwanda Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA). Construction of the plant will start immediately and commercial operation is expected in summer 2014.

Capital investment for the project will be provided through the Dutch Development Bank FMO, the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund and Norfund. All three institutions have long experience of investment in developing countries including Rwanda.

Scatec Solar and Norfund will be the majority owners of the solar park with the project developer, Gigawatt Global, maintaining a 20 percent share.

“At the end of last year, we grid connected the first utility scale solar park in Southern Africa” said Raymond Carlsen, CEO of Scatec Solar “Our objective has been to bring the experience gained in South Africa to other African nations, and we are pleased to team up with Norfund, FMO and EAIF and introduce large scale solar energy to Eastern Africa. The PPA with EWSA was signed in July 2013 and the PV plant will be operational by July 2014, so through this project we will demonstrate that with the combined efforts of experienced partners and national authorities, solar energy is fast and cost effective to build.”

The Rwandan Government has introduced an aggressive plan to boost the nation’s capacity with an objective of 50 percent of the population to have access to electricity by 2017 and the installed generation capacity raised to 560MW, up from 110MW in 2013. The new solar PV plant will add significantly to this target and will also help to lower the overall cost of electricity in the country, which at present relies mostly on diesel generation.

“In terms of fast execution this project is remarkable, as we rarely see energy projects coming into the construction phase so fast” added Linda Broekhuizen, CIO of FMO

According to Norfund CEO Kjell Roland, the fund has acted to increase its investments in renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa as well as broadening its portfolio to include more solar power. ASYV is leasing some of its land to assist with the project, the fees for which will help to meet some of its charitable costs.http://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/article/scatec-solar-to-help-develop-rwanda-pv-20140218 (Renewable Energy Magazine)

 

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 http://allafrica.com/stories/201402191296.html (All Africa New Times)

 

 

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http://www.pennenergy.com/articles/pennenergy/2014/02/scatec-norfund-begin-east-africa-s-first-utility-scale-solar-power-plant.html (PennEnergy)

 

 

 

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Rwanda’s $24m Solar Plant Deal

http://www.zegabi.com/articles/?p=7482 (East Africa News)

Reports indicate that Rwanda is set to become the first East African country with a utility-scale solar plant following a $24m deal.

This deal will see the construction of the plant outside Kigali, Rwanda’s capital.

Currently, the East African country is said to have a power capacity that is slightly more than 100 megawatts for over 11 million people, many of whom are reported to lack access to electricity.

On the other hand, Israel has approximately 13,000 megawatts of available power for its 8 million residents.

Therefore, Yosef Abramowitz, an Israeli entrepreneur and president of Gigawatt Global has signed an agreement with the African country to address its power issues, reports indicate.

Following this agreement, Rwanda is expected to increase its power generation by at least eight percent by the end of this year. Analysts say that this development will ease pressure on Rwanda’s utility body, Energy Water and Sanitation Authority (EWSA).

After the completion of the project, sources reveal that the plant will sell electricity to the Rwandan government according to the 25-year purchase agreement between EWSA and the investors.

According to a news release, Gigawatt Global is set to construct an 8.5 MW solar power plant with Energiya Global providing seed funding and strategic guidance for the project.

The CEO of Energiya Global, Mr. Abramowitz, hopes that the project will demonstrate that the construction of commercially viable solar plants is possible in Africa, reports indicate.

The project is said to be funded by investors such as FMO-the Dutch Development bank and Norfund, a Norwegian development body. Sources also reveal that the project has obtained grants from bodies financed by governments including the U.S. and UK.

According to reports, the Rwandan government aims to connect half of its 11m population to electricity by 2017. It is also reported that Rwanda’s power access has increased from 6 % of the population in 2008 to 16 % in 2012.

It is said that a large portion of Rwanda’s electricity originates from hydropower schemes but also depends heavily on diesel generation like numerous African countries. According to sources, Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is leasing the land where the plant will be located.

It is also reported that some of the fees generated from the project will help finance the charity’s current activities. Located 60 km from Kigali, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village is said to be an educational and residential community for youth orphaned after and during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Reports indicate that EWSA is currently conducting studies on the construction of a 10 MW solar plant in Rwinkwavu. The utility body also expects to invite prospective investors following the completion of the research, sources indicate.

The Rwandan government is reportedly keen on investing more steadily on renewable energy besides setting the goal of a five-fold increase in renewable power sources by 2017.

Meanwhile, environmentalists welcomed the project, citing the benefits of clean energy to environmental protection.

Francis Kayumba, an environmentalist, stated that green energies such as wind and solar do not have negative environmental impacts. He further added that they are more dependable than hydrothermal because they do not depend on water levels for productivity.

Besides providing more people with electricity access, this initiative is also expected to decrease electricity costs, analysts say.

 

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Energiya Global to solar power up 8% of Rwanda using clean energy - See more at: http://www.greenprophet.com/2014/03/energiya-solar-global-rwanda/

 

 

Courtesy of Karin Kloosterman

 

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במקום בטר פלייס - יוסף אברמוביץ' יקים שדה סולארי ברואנדה

היזם שהוביל לפני שנה את קבוצת סאנרייז לרכישת בטר פלייס (בעסקה שבוטלה לאחר מכן), מוביל בימים אלה קונסורציום בינלאומי להקמת השדה הסולארי הראשון במזרח אפריקה

http://www.themarker.com/dynamo/1.2250060 (Haaretz)

 

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יוסף אברמוביץ סוגר חשבון עם הביורוקרטיה הישראלית

הוא היה אקטיביסט פוליטי, עלה לישראל והפך ליזם של אנרגיה ירוקה ■ עכשיו, עם 6 שדות סולאריים בארץ, אחד באפריקה ועשרות נוספים שמתוכננים בכל העולם, יוסף אברמוביץ סוגר חשבון עם הביורוקרטיה הישראלית

http://www.globes.co.il/news/article.aspx?did=1000920093 (Globes)

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