New way to pay for climate-friendly fridges and ACs in Rwanda

The Rwanda Cooling Finance Initiative (RCOOL FI)  and Banque Populaire Du Rwanda Plc signed a Memorandum of Understanding that intends to supporting the bank’s role partnership with Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) to implement Rwanda Cooling Finance Initiative (R-COOL FI) that seeks to offer on-bill financing to make energy-efficient and climate-friendly refrigerators and ACs .

Rwanda and other countries in the East African Community are experiencing economic and population growth, which is driving ever-greater demand for domestic refrigerators and room air conditioners. Cooling products – for refrigerating foods and medicines and keeping indoor conditions comfortable – are essential for the health, well-being, and competitiveness of these economies, but they pose critical challenges in terms of energy consumption and impacts on the environment. Outdated products can consume two to three times the amount of energy as efficient options available today, and they often contain refrigerant gasses that damage the ozone layer and the environment.

Rwanda’s National Cooling Strategy identifies innovative financing as one of its main paths to enable more sustainable cooling.

RCOOL FI will allow, in the next months, qualified customers of the national electricity company – Rwanda Energy Group’s Energy Utility Corporation Limited (EUCL) – to repay a loan  for an approved cooling product via their electricity bill. Proper collection and recycling of used appliances, product testing, and consumer awareness campaigns will help to reduce waste, ensure compliance and promote this opportunity.

The project team proudly announces Banque Populaire du Rwanda Plc as the financial partner to underpin the loans in this scheme. Once all parties and stakeholders finalize the signing process to establish a partnership that will implement this initiative, consumers will be able to select a qualifying refrigerator or air conditioner through a participating vendor.

Juliet Kabera, Director General of REMA, reflected, “Banque Populaire du Rwanda is taking important leadership in demonstrating the market viability of an innovative scheme that is good for consumers, the utility, and the planet. Such win-win actions by the private sector are critical to sustainable economic development. The partnership between Rwanda Energy Group, Banque Populaire and other banks, and the technology suppliers will not only unlock individual savings but also provide an alternative equipment financing through the electricity utility bills.”

Ron Weiss, Chief Executive Officer of Rwanda Energy Group (REG), added that, “REG supports this initiative, which promotes energy efficiency and longer-term individual and national savings. Aggregated individual consumers’ savings will reduce need for investment into extra power generation,and optimize our existing supply capacity.”

R-COOL FI is implemented by REMA and supported by United Nations Environment Programme’s United for Efficiency (U4E) initiative and Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE) and aims to promote the energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling and recycle existing inefficient systems. The project aims to unlock USD 4 million in financing to support the purchase of 12,500 energy-efficient and climate-friendly cooling products in Rwanda by 2024, which can be scaled-up thereafter to cover additional opportunities. R-COOL FI is made possible by funding from Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program and the Government of Rwanda.

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