Uganda will now be able to add 16 GWH of power each year to her national grid following the recent commissioning of 10MW photovoltaic system Tororo North Solar Plant in the Eastern part of the country with the capacity to generate 16 GWH annually.
“Uganda’s power needs are enormous but we are working with our development partners to ensure that we realise these needs for the much needed transformation of the country,” said Engineer Ziria Tibalwa Waako, the Chief Executive Officer, Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), during the commissioning of the plant.
The Tororo North Solar Plant was constructed by Building Energy, a project supported by the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund that provided funds through the GET FiT Solar Facility, equivalent to 7.08 million euros as top-up payment for borrowed money per kWh of delivered electricity for over 20 years.
The project is reported to have a capacity to produce power capable of providing up to 36,000 people/homes with power for lighting.
The power generated from the plant is sold to Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) by Building Energy at 19 cents per KWH and this is then sold by UETCL to the final consumers at 11.9 cents KWH to the final consumers.
During the inauguration of the project, Waako reiterated that through the EU trust fund, Uganda was granted up to $900m from GET FiT Solar program, which support, was extended by the government of Norway and is geared towards producing 156MW of clean renewable energy, and greenhouse gas. Therefore, greenhouse solar, is one of the components for the project. In this case, the Tororo North Solar plant was constructed by Building Energy at a cost of $19.6m. Building Energy will continue managing the plant for 20 years.
Waako said the fund attracts the private sector to partake in the development of renewable energy by subsidizing the cost of solar panels and subsequently reduce the cost of power. European Union Ambassador to Uganda, Attilio Pacifici, said Uganda’s development agenda is hinged on the development of infrastructure especially roads and energy and that the inauguration of the Tororo North Solar Plant, fits well into this agenda.
He said 13 projects in the country have managed to secure up to 67% of financing in renewable energy and that these projects will go a long way in enabling the EU realise her dream of 156MW of renewable power.
“Uganda has been on top of the international index for renewable energy and clean energy because of her favourable policies as well as favourable investment policies to the sector,” Attilio said.
He said that despite this potential, there’s a gap in terms of finance, the reason the EU accepted to provide a $7m ventures fund in order to leverage on the public loans. Attilio said the new EU external investment plan aims to reduce the risk and encourage private sector investments by providing guarantees and equities to promote private investment.
The Minister of State for Minerals, Peter Lokeris said Uganda is blessed with resources fit for the development of renewable energy. He said he was delighted by the support the EU has continued to extend to Uganda over the years.
Author: Samson Okwakol