Beyond the Grid in Rural Rwanda

How solar entrepreneurs are improving lives and powering a continent

Andre and Gaudace Nyirahategekimana live with their family in the Musanze District of rural Rwanda — far beyond where the national electricity grid reaches.

Running a home and managing a business without access to electricity can be quite challenging. But the Nyirahategekimana family doesn’t have to wait for the national electricity grid to power their lives.

Andre recently purchased a solar power kit from BBOXX, a Power Africa Beyond the Grid partner, through an affordable monthly payment plan. They now have lights, a radio, and a television. And, critically, the BBOXX home solar system can keep their phones charged. This eco-friendly and renewable energy source is also less expensive and much safer than traditional kerosene and candles.

Innocent Nkubiri is the retail manager for BBOXX in Rwanda. BBOXX is a London-based company that designs, manufactures, distributes and finances off-grid solar systems across the developing world. BBOXX operates in over 14 countries, mainly in Africa, and has sold over 40,000 systems since its inception in 2010.

Innocent works with families like Andre’s to deliver solar power systems through affordable payment plans. This end-customer financing model helps BBOXX make solar systems cost-competitive with existing carbon-based energy solutions.

Innocent Nkubiri demonstrates BBOXX’s solar innovations, including a solar-powered light and a solar-powered battery connected to a residential television set

Innocent even delivers solar power kits to customers remote areas of Rwanda, like Andre Nyirahategekimana and his family.

The availability of solar power in rural Rwanda allows women like Gaudace Nyirahategekimana to have power in their homes for the first time. By signing up for an affordable solar power plan with BBOXX, Gaudace’s clothing alterations business can continue operating past sunset, bringing more income to their household.

Off-grid energy sources are helping to connect millions of people in Africa who live beyond the traditional electrical grid. New, affordable solar power innovations are bringing power to millions of families and lighting their homes for the first time. In areas where the electrical grid doesn’t reach, access to electricity is now a possibility and is often less expensive than traditional kerosene lamps.

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Text and photos by Rudy Gharib, Power Africa Director of Communications