Whilst construction of the 8.5MW solar PV project in Rwanda was completed in July 2014, the foundation for dealing with the riskiest part of the project’s development was laid some 18 months earlier by the project’s founder, Chaim Motzen of Gigawatt Global. Solar PV projects are relatively easy to construct – a matter of ground works and installation of panels. The hard work is getting governments and utilities in Sub-Saharan Africa to engage and trust solar PV as a cornerstone of their power generation portfolio.
On this project, the government and utility engaged, and the project founder was fully committed and relentless in his approach, galvanising advisers, stakeholders and in-country teams into action. This enabled project documents to be signed within six months of the start of negotiations – a first in a region where it is usual for project document negotiation to exceed an IPP’s construction period. Once bankable project documents were signed, execution of construction contracts and equity and debt fundraising were completed within just a few months. Again this was record speed for a project in the region.
The project was built on a solid foundation with bankability not being sacrificed for the sake of speed. Sponsors and advisers can testify that solid documentation and a supportive local environment is critical for the success of an IPP in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Guardian article is available here.
A full project profile is available here.