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EU Asks East African Countries to Invest More in Solar

Posted on : Tuesday , 17th January 2017

SOROTI, UGANDA - East African states have been asked to invest more resources in the development of renewable power projects like solar energy where the region has a better comparative advantage as compared to Hydropower which is more expensive to finance.

Development partners say the climate conditions in some countries within the community such as Uganda supports the development of solar power but the country has not yet exploited such opportunities which have kept Uganda depending too much on Hydropower and biomass as sources of Energy. 
 Speaking during the commissioning of the US$ 19 million solar photovoltaic project in Soroti, Eastern Uganda, the Head of European Union delegation in Uganda Ambassador Kristain Schmidt said Uganda is conducive for solar power development because of the climatic conditions and the regulatory framework.
 “Uganda is a good place to invest in solar energy. The regulatory framework is conducive and the government rightly recognizes Uganda’s energy future must be renewable. 
It is great that this is now triggering private sector interest in solar power generation the government should continue attracting more investors to invest in solar power generation in the country because Uganda has many sites where the major plants can be established to generate more renewable energy,” Schmidt said.
 The Soroti Solar Power Plant is considered as the biggest solar power plant in the region. It is made up of 32,680 photovoltaic panels and generates 10 megawatts of power. 
It is the first facility to be connected to the national grid, which is expected to supply low carbon electricity to over 40,000 homes and business in the area.
This is according to experts from Access Uganda Solar Limited, a joint company between EREN RE and Access power which owns the Soroti plant. Commissioning the plant, Uganda’s Minister of state for Energy Eng. Simon D’Ujanga said the government will continue working with the private sector with the support from the development partners to diversify the country’s power sector.
“The strong collaboration which the government has been having with development partners and private sector has supported the government to embark on the construction of Mega Hydro power project such as Bujagali and the ongoing power projects such as Karuma and Isimba which is about to commence. As government we are going to borrow the same model for solar power,” said D’ Ujanga.
The 10 megawatts plant was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (GET Fit) a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects managed by the Germanys, KfW Development Bank in Partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) and funded by governments of Norway Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union. 
GET Fit’s objective is to help to make renewable energy sources more affordable and therefore more accessible in the Eastern African block. In Uganda, the programme is to support and overcome investment barriers for private developers of small – scale (1-20 MW) renewable energy projects. The programme will enable the realization of 17 projects with targeted total installed capacity of roughly 170 MW.
Once all the projects supported under GET Fit start generating electricity, they will improve security of power supply and increase generation capacity in Uganda by about 20% and thus help to add much needed low cost and clean generation to the Ugandan energy mix and also seeing more than 1.2 million Ugandan getting connected with electric power. Apart from improving power security, the GET Fit program will also support the country to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide by about 11 million tons thus helping the country to pursues acclimate resilient low carbon development path.
David Corchia the Chief Executive officer EREN RE revealed that they are committed to develop other power projects in Uganda and replicate the same to other African states provided the Business Environment remains conducive to them.
“We wish to express our gratitude and thanks to the organizations and individuals who made the construction of the largest solar power in East Africa possible. As a global renewable energy independent  power producers, we take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the African power sector and we look forward to replicating this model in other districts in Uganda and even in many other African countries,” he promised.

Source : allafrica.com




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