Days before the United Nations COP26 climate summit is expected to, among other things, pressure world leaders to boost clean energy financing for developing countries, a multinational effort has brought the first-ever solar farm online in Burundi.

The 7.5 megawatt solar farm increases Burundi’s generating capacity by 10%, representing the first substantial energy generation project in the country in more than 30 years.

Financing for the project was provided by the UK’s Renewable Energy Performance Platform, pan-African private equity investor Inspired Evolution, and Gigawatt Global. The construction loans are being refinanced by the US International Development Finance Corporation, while additional support was provided by the Energy and Environment Partnership, established by the UK, Austria, and Finland.

Greg Hands, the UK’s Minister for Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change, is hopeful that the Burundi solar project can serve as an example of cooperation ahead of COP26.

“Today’s launch of Burundi’s first grid-connected solar farm will light up the nation’s energy system,” Hands said. “It will strengthen the national grid supply and propel forward a promising future for the country in clean, green energy.  Investing in a green future benefits the economy and the planet.”

The 7.5 megawatt solar farm increases Burundi’s generating capacity by 10%, representing the first substantial energy generation project in the country in more than 30 years. (Courtesy: Camco Clean Energy)

International financing for clean energy and climate change resiliency will be a focus of the United Nations COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland next month. Developed countries committed in 2009 to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance to developing countries by 2020.

report released in September by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development found that developed countries mobilized $79.6 billion in 2019. Research from the World Resources Institute determined that most developed countries are not contributing their fair share toward meeting the $100 billion goals.

“Three major economies — the United States, Australia, and Canada — provided less than half their share of the financial effort in 2018, based on objective indicators such as the size of their economies and their greenhouse gas emissions,” WRI authors wrote. “Other nations that provided less than half of their fair share were Greece, Iceland, New Zealand, and Portugal. In total, more than a dozen developed countries were falling short of their responsibilities.

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