The National Domestic Biogas Program (NDBP) was started way back in 2007(Phase I) with financial and technical support provided by SNV and GIZ. The program objective was to develop a commercial and sustainable domestic biogas sector, substituting firewood with biogas for cooking and increasing agricultural production through provision of bio-slurry as a fertilizer.
To date (End Aug. 2013) close to 3,365 biogas digesters have been disseminated in households by about 41 local companies. The installations costs are borne by the consumers (on their own revenues or credit from lenders) and the government (subsidy) on a 50/50 cost sharing principal. The subsidy is disbursed through the districts which have signed MoUs with local Credit giving institutions (SACCOS) to extend credit to the biogas project owners on request.
Initially, the Government has a memorandum of understanding with BPR to lend to biogas project owners at an interest rate of 13.5% per anum, slightly lower than market rates. However, the MoU was expired last year and is yet to be renewed.
To ensure the continued access to credit, 24 out of 30 districts have signed MoUs with SACCOs to extend credit to biogas projects. There is currently no uniform lending terms for biogas projects as previous required to protect consumers from rates higher than rate of return on investment. The terms of lending are negotiated on a case-by-case basis depending on the negotiating position of each district. Some form of collateral security is required before accessing a loan from SACCOs.
Biogas technologies: The dominant biogas plant technologies available are code named “Rwanda I” (foundation made of stones, round wall, dome, inlet and outlets made of bricks) and “Rwanda II” (foundation and round wall made of stones with dome, inlet and outlet made of bricks). The cost of each technology varies mainly depending on the size and the material inputs used in construction. The available plant sizes range between 4m3, 6m3 and 10m3 especially for domestic users.
Some new technologies have emerged including the flexi-biogas technology (from Kenya) and Fibre Glass Reinforced Biogas Technology (From china). The two technologies have only been used on a small scale (testing phase) and are not readily available on the Rwandan market. However, they present another potential option in the scaling up the use of biogas for cooking.