VENTURES AFRICA – In a bid to improve power generation, Ethiopia’s Energy Ministry said it has launched a $11 million (birr208.8 million) solar systems project, which will be used to power 25,000 homes in rural areas of the country.
The Ministry’s Director of public relations, Bizuneh Tolcha said that the installation “will provide enough power for lighting, mobile phones, a computers and solar fridge for each home”.
According to local reports, since the launch of the project, 13,200 solar systems have been installed across the East African country and on completion, 11,800 more will be installed.
In 2009, the country which has little oil and natural gas reserves was plagued by power outages; less than 10 percent of Ethiopians had access to electricity.
In order to overcome this situation, the government embarked on an ambitious dam-building program. Three hydropower plants with a combined capacity of 1.18 GW were commissioned in 2009 and 2010 alone, more than doubling the previous installed capacity of the national electric grid.
“The new solar systems project is to power locations not connected to the national grid system”, Tolcha said.
The project which carries a $40 million grant from the World Bank “was launched to accelerate the development of renewable energy projects in the country”, he added.