Uganda’s Minister of State for Mineral Development, Peter Lokeris, last week, invited more investors to take up development of renewable energy opportunities available in the country.
“Most power investors prefer to invest in hydro-power technologies which is very expensive, leaving out the untapped solar energy opportunities in the country. Over dependence on hydro-power will not solve the country’s energy problem. Let us diversify the power sector so that all parts of the country have access to clean energy,” he said.
He said Uganda has the favourable climatic conditions to support the production of solar power.
He was officiating at the ground-breaking for the construction of a $18 million solar power plant in Soroti, eastern Uganda. The plant is expected to generate 10MW and is being developed by Access Power Company, a United Arab Emirates-based company.
The 10MW photovoltaic plant, according to East African Business Week, is expected to be in operational and connected to the national grid by July 2016 providing electricity to about 40,000 homes.
Spanish engineering firm, TSK Group, are carrying out construction after being awarded the Engineering Procurement and Construction contract.
However TSK Group will subcontract part of the works to qualified local firms in the country.
The Head the European Union Delegation to Uganda Ambassador Kristian Schmidt said access to clean energy by the local communities has multiplier effects on their social and economic development.
“Access to cheap and reliable power is powerful engine towards supporting the local communities to participate effectively in the national economy. The European Union will continue supporting Uganda’s power sector,” he said.
Uganda currently has about 800 MW of installed electricity supply , mostly from hydro and thermal sources. The World Bank says Uganda has an 18.2% electrification rate.
Amb. Schmidt said the Soroti solar power grid project will make a strong contribution to increasing access to clean energy in the region of which the greatest population depends on biomass, which has negative environmental impact, especially forest cover.