Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ministry of Energy and World Wide Fund-Uganda (WWF-U) have constructed 6 solar power mini grids to enhance Uganda’s goal of achieving universal clean and renewable energy access.
The 1.4 million Euros Innovative Solar PV Distribution Model project is being funded by European Union-EU.
The panels with a total capacity of 170.625kW are in six villages of Kasese and Rubirizi Districts. In kasese the mini grid are in Kasenyi in Lake Katwe Sub county and Kiserere in Kitholu Sub County. They will supply power to 900 households and 205 small businesses in the two Sub Counties.
Rural Electrification Agency-REA will extend the power to the households free of charge.
David Duli, the WWF Country Director says the overall objective is to improve rural livelihoods and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions through widespread access to clean and renewable energy.
He says the project has three components including mini-grid, home solar and institutional solar systems.
Duli added that the off-grid Renewable Energy solutions will produce energy for lighting, commercial and other productive uses to business and families.
Ludovic Durel the deputy team leader Inclusive Green Economy under EU says the project complements the government’s development agenda anchored in Uganda Second National Plan 2015/16-2019/2020 (NDPII) which set a target increase of electricity access from 14% to 30%.
The project will also contribute to the country’s progress towards attaining some of the seven sustainable development goals (SDGs) including access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern clean energy for all.
Wilson Wafula a commissioner in the ministry of Energy says they are set to commission the project by end of May.
Wafula adds that the mini grids will create new opportunities for livelihood improvement through productive use of electricity, will serve to create at least 400 new jobs and will contribute to sustainable and inclusive economic growth in these rural communities.
Koshendra Bhatt of Sagewood Limited -the company hired to install the grid- says the work is complete and they are only waiting for the ministry so that they can hand over the work for power distribution.
Yonasan Kisoro from Kitholu says the plant is a relief to many households who have relied on candles since time immemorial.
He also says the power plant will help institutions like schools to advance their learning including opening up of ICT facilities.
Happy Ali, the communications manager at WWF Kasese field office emphasizes that the power distribution will be free of charge.