This week solar-powered ‘light islands’ began appearing in the heavily-trafficked central bus station and nearby marketplace, extending commercial hours and personal safety. Gigawatt Global is now in discussions to scale the solar-powered ‘light islands’ program throughout the city and in other major Burundian towns.
“We are grateful and pleased to work with the city of Bujumbura, and the Honorable Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa to realise this important first step of the solar street lighting project,” said Michael Fichtenberg, Managing Director of Gigawatt Global Burundi.
“We intend to expand throughout the capital and to other locations as part of our larger program of green electrification in Burundi, with 40 ‘light islands’ planned in the first phase of the program,” Fichtenberg continued. “Every country in which we develop commercial scale solar fields will receive additional benefits like these ‘light islands’ and rural electrification with mini-grids.”
Gigawatt Global pioneered commercial scale solar power plants in sub-Sahara Africa, launching the first one in Rwanda in 2014, which is currently supplying 6% of the country’s generation capacity. The company will complete a 7.5 Mw solar field in the Gitega region of Burundi in the next six months, which will supply 15% of the East African country’s generation capacity. Similar projects are currently being developed in 10 African countries, including Liberia and South Sudan, among many others.
The ‘light islands’ project in Bujumbura is produced by a team that includes local members Patrick Nzintunga, Regional Coordinator, and Deo Hugere, Engineer. The engineering, procurement, and construction components of this project are being carried out by Asantys System. The pilot program is supported by the Energy & Environmental Partnership (EEP), an initiative of the governments of the United Kingdom, Austria and Finland, and with an impact investment from entrepreneur Alex Goldberg.