Technology

Uganda Launches Largest Solar Plant in East Africa

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni may be failing in the expansion and promotion of democracy and social freedom in his country, but he surely compensating for that weakness in the human development side in Uganda.

Recently, the Museveni’s administration followed India’s foots steps by embracing solar energy, as it has launched the largest solar plant in East Africa.

Located on 33 acres of land in Soroti District, the Soroti Solar plant is made up of 32,680 photovoltaic panels, and has an output of 10 to 12 megawatt. The facility is the country’s first grid-connected solar plant and is expected to generate clean, sustainable electricity to 40,000 households.

Per to the World Bank, Uganda currently has an 18.2 percent electrification rate.

Energy analysts say the plant has the potential to increase its net output capacity by a further 20 megawatts of solar energy.

Costing $19 million, The Soroti plant was created under the Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariff (GET FiT), a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and, partly, the European Union (EU).

Per the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), it is estimated that no more than 20 per cent, and in some countries as little as 5 percent, of the population in Africa (excluding South Africa and Egypt) has direct access to electricity. This figure falls to 2 percent in rural areas.

Solar power is one way Africa can condense its energy gaps, as about 600 million people still lack the connection, and those figures are worse in West and East Africa.

 

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Ben Mabande

Ben Mabande is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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