Gigawatt Global, a multinational renewable energy company and partner of Obama’s Power Africa initiative, has broken ground on its 1GW solar programme with the 7.5MW solar plant in Burundi.

The US$14 million facility was inaugurated on Thursday in Mubuga, just outside the Burundian capital of Bujumbura. The new plant will add 15% to the country’s electricity generation capacity. Power will be sold under a 25-year PPA to REGIDESO, the national electric company.

Construction and interconnection of the project to the country’s grid is expected to be completed in Q4 2017.

“Empowering economic and social development is at the heart of our green energy business,” said Michael Fichtenberg, vice president for finance and business development, Gigawatt Global. “This high impact development investment supported by leading international financial institutions signals that Burundi is open for development and business.”

This new plant will be the largest private international investment in energy to hit the East African country in almost 30 years. Gigawatt Global is an American-owned Dutch developer focusted in the development and management of utility-scale solar projects in developing countries.

It delivered its first utility-scale solar project with Power Africa in Rwanda in 2014.

The Burundi project was made possible by a grant from Finland’s Energy and Environment Partnership and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO). It was also financially supported by the African-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP).

“Gigawatt Global is expecting to deploy US$2 billion in renewable energy projects in Africa as partners of the White House Power Africa initiative in the coming years as renewables are taking the lead in power generation in Africa and emerging markets,” said CEO Josef Abramowitz. “We are targeting sub-Sahara Africa as a high impact and high growth market, with a portfolio of small, medium and large power projects in the highest priority development areas.”

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