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ZOLA Electric, an emerging market energy technology company, has announced the deployment of a distributed solar mini-grid system in Rwanda. The 120 kWp mini-grid system has started providing power to more than 1,000 homes, schools, businesses, and clinics in two villages in the Nyagatare district.
The mini-grid system went online in the villages of Gakagati I and II after a three-phase roll-out, over a period of ten months. A total of 931 homes, 58 businesses, three religious centers, a school, a health center, and five irrigation systems have benefited from clean and reliable electricity.
The solar mini-grid project received technical support from the Dutch mini-grid developer program NXT Grid and secured funding from Facebook, the Shell Foundation, USAID, and Endev.
Bill Lenihan, CEO at ZOLA Electric, said, the transformative potential and power of solar mini-grids in Rwanda is hugely exciting. ZOLA is driving immense social impact across Rwandan rural communities most in need of clean, accessible, reliable, and affordable energy.
The project is developed via ZOLA’s innovative INFINITY technology. Built from peer-to-peer, modular AC units, INFINITY provides a versatile and largely scalable energy solution for the agricultural villages Gakagati I and II.
ZOLA’s distributed mini-grid system, with decentralized and modular technology, allows infinite scaling to power not only rural regions but also urban ones. This modularity extends to the ability to link with the national grid or other mini-grids.
Ashish Kumar, Climate & Innovation Lead at Shell Foundation, commented, “Although the technology is continuing to mature, the emerging data from the initial phased rollout in the two Rwandan villages has shown huge potential for it to be rolled out more widely across emerging markets.”
ZOLA Electric has also employed its management software platform, VISION, to monitor its network which encompasses these rural mini-grid systems. The software platform enables adjustments without any decline in service, supporting the grid’s reliability and performance.