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U2’s Bono Tours First Solar Farm Completed Under Power Africa Program


U2’s Bono with Gigawatt Global co-founders Yosef Abramowitz and Chaim Motzen, plus Electrify Africa Act co-sponsor US Senator Chris Coons at East Africa’s first solar field near Kigali, Rwanda.

On the anniversary of the completion of the first solar farm built under the White House’s Power Africa program, the 8.5 MW plant on the grounds of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda had a few distinguished visitors, among them U2’s Bono and US Senator Chris Coons.

A delegation of US Government representatives, including the co-sponsor of the Electrify Africa Act, Senator Coons (D-DE), toured the facility on its one year anniversary, led by Yosef Abramowitz and Chaim Motzen, the co-founders of Gigawatt Global.

The Rwandan solar plant, which also happens to be the first utility-scale commercial solar field in East Africa, was developed by Gigawatt Global and built by Scatec Solar, and the energy produced by the plant increased Rwanda’s total generation capacity by 6%.

“The solar field at the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda embraces a big range of causes: it helps the long-term sustainability of the Village, it is good for the environment, it generates local employment and education and it empowers the country with access to electricity – which in itself results in a myriad of benefits for the Rwandan population.” – Gigawatt Global

The $23 million project was built on the grounds of the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village (ASYV), which is a 144-acre residential community designed to care for the youth who were orphaned during and after the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The siting of the solar plant on the ASYV farm has enabled a steady flow of income from renting the land, allowing the village to be more financially sustainable, as well as to offer the 500 students at ASYV access to engineering and solar PV technology education.

Bono’s organization is a backer of the Electrify Africa program as a part of its global mission to alleviate extreme poverty, and for his advocacy and campaigning toward that goal, Bono is a candidate for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Gigawatt Global, a multinational renewable energy company that is focused on the development and management of utility-scale solar plants in emerging markets, is also a nominee for the 2015 Prize, which will be announced next month.

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Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee. Catch up with Derek on Twitter, Google+, or at his natural parenting site, Natural Papa!


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