Solar Panel Installation at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village

February 28, 2013

  During a recent ceremony, Agahozo-Shalom, in partnership with the solar energy company Gigawatt Global, launched a project aimed to impact and forever change the reality of life for many Rwandans and the Agahozo-Shalom community. The Village welcomed company leadership and a CNN camera crew, who will be featuring the Gigawatt Global President and Co-Founder Josef Abramowitz, on their show, The Next List in the coming months.  An interview with Agahozo-Shalom founder Anne Heyman will also be featured during the show.   

While in the Village, Abramowitz and his team highlighted the importance of this event citing the high probability that this project could pave the way for energy production in Rwanda and even potentially in all of East Africa. With the hands on assistance of Agahozo-Shalom students, a test solar grid was installed. The goal is to measure the amount of solar energy that can be harnessed using two types of panels. One will capture direct sunlight and the other is designed to capture indirect sunlight, meaning energy supply is less susceptible to weather changes. This experiment will inform the construction and necessary components of the solar energy field, which will hopefully begin after this 3-month test period, with a completion goal set for the end of 2013. Energy generated from this field will have the potential to supplement current energy sources in Rwanda, largely hydropower, and nearly 50% produced through expensive diesel generators.

The Village Director addressed the group wholeheartedly, welcoming this innovation. Students gathered around to learn about solar energy and what it means for Agahozo-Shalom and Rwanda. 

Abramowitz, in his address to students and visitors said we are, “Creating the jobs of the future here in Rwanda…” emphasizing the commitment to educating Agahozo-Shalom students in solar energy technology. Chaim Motzen, the VP & Regional Director of Gigawatt Global discussed the extensive, “Environmental study and grid study” that needed to be conducted and the commitment of all parties, including the Rwandan government, to produce clean, environmentally friendly energy production. 

Motzen discussed Agahozo-Shalom as “An excellent partner” and expressed appreciation for their like-minded approach to this project. 

The installation concluded with a performance from the Agahozo-Shalom traditional Rwandan dance troupe, which won third place in a national competition last year. The students performed to music with lyrics that one student said is about, “Greeting our guests with messages wishing peace.” The song gave acknowledgement to Rwandan history and the value of living life with integrity. Values that the Village works to instill in the students that live here.

Abramowitz and his work with Agahozo-Shalom will be featured on CNN’s The Next List in the upcoming months. Stay tuned for updates and check your local listings for programming information.