A total of $15 million (Dh91.8 million) in concessional loans will be granted by the Abu Dhabi Government to support one solar photovoltaic projects, one each in Rwanda, it was announced on Saturday. By Samihah Zaman

Shams solar project plant is set to contribute to the Abu Dhabi power sectorImage Credit: WAM

The loans are being provided by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the UAE’s development aid supplier, as part of its cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), which functions as the global platform for international cooperation in renewables. The projects will benefit more than 2.5 million people in the two countries.
“We believe that through the widespread promotion of sustainable energy projects in countries with immense clean energy potentials, we can contribute to the long term economic prosperity of communities across the word. We are confident that the latest projects selected for funding in Rwanda will deliver sizeable benefits for the economies of local communities,” said Mohammad Al Suwaidi, director general of the ADFD.
“For developing countries, renewable energy is a triple win: it provides a cost-effective means of providing electricity to families, fuels economic growth, and supports energy independence and security. However, many developing countries have trouble accessing financing for renewable energy investment, and we are delighted that our continued partnership with ADFD will provide a stable, low-cost source of financing to help Mauritius and Rwanda achieve a sustainable energy future,” said Adnan Z Ameen, Irena director general.
The latest cycle of loans was part of the ADFD’s fifth funding cycle, after the Fund established a seven-cycle facility with Irena to offer $350 million (Dh1.28 billion), which was expected to help developing countries access low-cost capital for renewable energy projects. These loans cover up to 50 per cent of project costs, and help leverage additional funding from other sources.
Mauritius will receive a $10 million (Dh36.7 million) loan to help its Central Electricity Board install solar photovoltaic systems on the rooftops of 10,000 households. This will help the governmental efforts to alleviate poverty, while also enabling the country to achieve its 35 per cent renewable electricity target by 2025. In addition, an estimated 35,000 people in low-income communities will benefit from significant electricity bill savings, and help improve the country’s energy security.
In Rwanda, the ADFD loan of $15 million (Dh55 million), will contribute to the installation of 500,000 off-grid solar photovoltaic home systems across the country. This project is a major part of the government’s rural electrification strategy, and 2.5 million people in rural communities are expected to benefit from improved electricity access. In addition, about 2,000 local jobs are also expected to be created.
Since 2014, the ADFD has allocated a total of $214 million (Dh786 million) to 21 projects, and attracted $420 million (Dh1.54 billion) in additional co-financing from other governments and development funds.