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April 1, 2015 9:48 am

American-Israeli Solar Firm Awarded Grant to Build Solar Field in Burundi

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A street in Burundi. A US-Israeli firm will help build Burundi's first major utility-connected solar field. Photo: Wikimedia Commons via Dave Proffer Flickr – The American-Israeli firm Gigawatt Global has been awarded a major grant by the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to help build Burundi’s first major utility-connected solar field.

The company is planning to build a 7.5-megawatt solar field in Burundi’s Gitega region, which is expected to increase the country’s electricity production by 15 percent, The Jerusalem Post reported. The USTDA grant is part of the US government’s Power Africa Initiative. In total, the firm has received roughly $1 million in US and European grants for the project.

Gigawatt Global is a US-owned Dutch developer that was co-founded by Israeli-American entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, who also developed Israel’s first grid-connected solar field. The company was nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize by former Member of Knesset Shimon Solomon.

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The grant follows the completion of East Africa’s first-ever utility-scale solar field in Rwanda. The $23.7 million, 8.5-megawatt solar field provides roughly 6 percent of Rwanda’s power supply and is set on an Israeli-inspired Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, which is home to orphans of the country’s 1994 genocide.

“Our impact investment model is to strengthen developing nations, both economically and environmentally, by providing renewable energy sources where they are most needed,” Abramowitz said, the Jerusalem Post reported. “We plan to build 1,000 solar megawatts in Africa by 2020, thereby providing electricity to millions of households and institutions that are currently without the most basic of human needs.”

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