$1 Million is Awarded to a Rwandan Company for Solar Energy Solutions

Ignite Power, a renewable energy firm from Rwanda, won a USD 1 million award from the Zayed Sustainability Prize organised by the UAE, for its contribution to solar energy access among Rwandans, including helping farmers withstand climate change shocks through solar-powered irrigation.

It is one of 11 winners in various categories who were honoured on 2nd December by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The awarding ceremony was held as part of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) hosted by the UAE at Expo City Dubai. COP28 runs from 30th November through 12th December.

Ignite Power emerged winner in the Prize’s Energy category. According to organisers, the company was recognised for its significant efforts in providing affordable electricity to remote communities in sub-Saharan Africa, indicating that it has supplied solar power solutions to 2.5 million people through a pay-as-you-go model, thereby avoiding 600,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

They added that it has also introduced innovative solar-powered irrigation solutions, creating 3,500 job opportunities in local communities.

The award was presented to Ignite Power co-founder Angela Homsi by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

“Winning the prize and the USD 1m will allow us to scale our impact exponentially. Let me give you an example of our impact; every USD100 means a family of 5 receives power. That’s how far a dollar can go,” Homsi said, commenting on the award implication, according to a post put on X on 4th December, by Zayed Sustainability Prize.

“Today, we’re focusing on affordable and sustainable access to power, using a range of power systems. This includes very basic home systems and extends to larger setups designed for schools and other institutions,” she said in an earlier post.

Before the awards ceremony, Homsi said Ignite was chosen as a finalist out of 5,000 companies that applied for the prize this year.

Data from the company show that its 1st projects in Rwanda and Mozambique are the largest single solar projects in SSA, at USD 38m and USD 48m budgets.

According to information from the Abu Dhabi Media Office, the Zayed Sustainability Prize aims to perpetuate the legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan by honouring and supporting small and medium enterprises, non-profit organisations, and secondary schools that offer sustainable solutions addressing challenges in health, food, energy, water, and climate.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan served as President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since the formation of the Federation on 2nd December, 1971, and as Ruler of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi since 1966, indicates information from the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC.

It indicated that the 11 winners of this year’s edition were unanimously selected in September by a jury after a thorough review of all candidates to assess their contributions and commitment to presenting innovative, impactful, and inspiring solutions across various prize categories, including health, food, energy, water, climate action, and global high schools.

During the awarding ceremony, Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Director-General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, described the prize winners as remarkable change-makers, actionists, and entrepreneurs, who have improved the lives of millions with innovative sustainable solutions.

“The prize winners fully embody the values of Sheikh Zayed who had a vision for sustainable progress that was ahead of its time. He believed that real progress was only possible if we balanced the health of the planet with the wealth of nations, advancing the many not the few,” he observed.