Supporting Rwandan Entrepreneurs to Capitalise on the Untapped Potential in the Picu Hydro Energy Sector

GVEP has carried out a week of specialised training sessions on business and project management for 20 entrepreneurs interested in exploiting and developing the Pico Hydro sector across Rwanda.

The training sessions held in Muhanga-Southern Province were successive to those previously carried out last year and focused on equipping participants with finance and business skills as well as activities such as costing and pricing, accurate record keeping, marketing and business management skills. Presentations were given by GVEP Technology Mentors and open discussions on specific topics were encouraged to ensure that all participants were involved and could raise any questions or issues. There was a presentation given by Mr Ajith Kumara, a highly experienced Pico Hyrdo consultant from Sri-Lanka, where this energy source has proved to be very successful.

Rwanda has considerable potential to expand and develop its Pico Hydro sector by creating a number of Pico-Hydro sites across the country. Pico hydro plants tap into the hydro energy generated by flowing water, converting this energy into electrical energy through a small turbine and providing the energy needs for a small village (generally up to 50kW) A study conducted by ESWA (Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority) identified 168 sites for this type of development, and believes that there are many more possible sites but have not yet been identified.

‘The potential sites would serve the energy needs of small industries, hospitals, and households in rural areas of the country by serving as an alternative energy source and cutting out the need to rely on petrol lamps and generators, which are both expensive and detrimental to health’ Explained Victor Hakuzwumuremyi, GVEP Technology Mentor.

Of the 20 participants who attended the training, 9 have already been involved in constructing Pico Hydro plants with some success, and are supplying around 200 households across the country. Mr. Emmanuel Uwamahoro, owner E.T.FO Ltd , is in the process of developing his business plan with the GVEP business mentors. Having previously worked as a construction technician working on constructing schools and bridges, he has decided to shift his efforts to the Pico Hydro sector and contacted GVEP for assistance. He proposes to provide energy to 135 households, a commercial centre, a school and a health centre with his intended Pico Hydro development.

Some of the participants requested further training on turbine design and the manufacturing process. After these entrepreneurs have registered their companies, moving forward, the next step for most is to head to the field to further develop their plans and work on implementation.

The training sessions and activities were jointly organized by GVEP and GIZ and form a part of the Capital Access for Renewable Energy Enterprises (CARE2 ) funded by the Swedish government, designed to help energy businesses secure access to capital and grow.

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