Uganda Makes Increases In Solar Power Energy Generation

The use of solar as an alternative source of energy has in the recent times gained global acclaim and developing countries like Uganda are adjusting and making reforms in their regulatory frameworks to allow and facilitate critical investment. Richer countries like France have pledged to fund efforts such as the International Solar Alliance (ISA), one of the practical off-shoots of COP21, the Global Climate Summit that was held in Paris, France in November, 2016.

And indeed, during the launch of the ISA, in New Delhi, India, in 2017, France president Mr. Emmanuel Macron pledged €700 million euros (about $862m at the time) by 2022 to help developing countries with their solar energy projects. The ISA garners for increased deployment of solar energy technologies as a means for bringing energy access, ensuring energy security, and driving energy transition in its member countries.

To become a beneficiary, Uganda ratified the ISA Treaty making her a member. According to sources, Uganda is a participant in two of the ISA’s critical programmes: the program for ‘scaling solar applications for agricultural use’ and Affordable finance at scale. Uganda has submitted its priority to use solar energy and through synergies with India, the host nation of ISA, the country has been receiving demonstration solar water pumping systems for irrigation.

The three top priorities of ISA are; identification of solar projects; mobilization of public and private finance at scale with a focus on guarantee instruments; and transfer of innovative technology solutions and capacity-building.

So far 32 of the 60 member countries who have joined the Alliance are from Africa. The Alliance will provide a platform to collaborate in addressing identified gaps through a common, agreed approach. Uganda hopes to use solar water pumping systems for irrigation.

Busia Solar Power Plant

The agreement for establishing the $6mn 4MW solar power plant was signed in Egypt in May 2018, between the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Ugandan Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development (MEMD), on the sidelines of President Museveni’s visit to Egypt.

The project is fully funded by the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and implemented by the Arab Organization for Industrialization, in collaboration with Giza Systems.

The plant has been completed and handed over to the government of Uganda on Tuesday 25 January 2022, during a ceremony organized by MEMD. It is the latest of major Egyptian developmental projects in Uganda, including the Egyptian Medical Center in Jinja and the launch of new phase of the Egyptian-Ugandan Model Joint Farm.

Meeting Uganda’s rising energy demand

The plant will support the Ugandan energy sector to meet the rising energy demand in a climate–friendly manner. The 4MW production of solar power offsets 126.000 tons of harmful CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent of planting over 2,964,400 trees or removing 22.324 cars from the road for a year. It will also generate 36 million dollars in saving over the lifetime of the plant’s systems. When connected to the national grid, it will meet the needs of the Eastern Uganda region.

The plant is also the first to be operated by an educational institution in Uganda – Busitema University – and will support transfer of technology, technical cooperation and capacity building. It will also increase the feasibility of the development of on grid solar photovoltaic for electricity generation in Uganda.

The existing solar data clearly show that the solar energy resource in Uganda is high throughout the year. The mean solar radiation is 5.1 kWh/m 2 per day, on a horizontal surface. This level of insolation is quite favorable, for the application n of a number of solar technologies.  

Great potential for poverty eradication

The total new installed photovoltaic capacity annually is estimated at 200 kWp for households, institutions and commercial use. Solar thermal has a great potential in the form of solar water heaters in electrified areas.

Today electricity is most often used for water heating, in spite of the fact that it will in many cases be cheaper for the consumer to use solar energy. Furthermore, small solar water heaters are relevant for remote areas, where hot water is needed like in rural clinics and tourism areas, to provide a cheap, reliable and environmentally friendly, source of energy.

The Solar PV Plants in Uganda include Tororo Solar PV (10 MW) in Tororo district, Access Solar PV (10 MW) in Soroti district, Xsabo Solar (20 MW) in Kabulasoke and Emerging Power U Ltd (10MW) in Mayuge district, as well as Tororo PV Power Project (Tororo PV Power Co. Ltd) and Engie Equatorial and Power Distribution at Lolwe Island (600KW).

Energy services such as lighting, heating, cooking, motive power, mechanical transport and telecommunication are essential for socioeconomic development, since they yield social benefits, create employment and generate income. These issues are at the core of poverty eradication and national development.

A Clean Future For Africa's Energy

Africa's rapid economic expansion creates a daunting energy challenge, combined with rising expectations of improved resilience and sustainability. Finding a sustainable way to meet growing energy needs is one of the core development challenges for the continent.

Africa is rich in renewable energy sources, including hydro, sun, wind and others, and the time is right for sound planning to ensure the right energy mix. Decisions made today will shape the continent's energy sector for decades.

Endowed with substantial renewable energy resources, Africa can adopt innovative, sustainable technologies and play a leading role in global action to shape a sustainable energy future.

Over the past two decades Africa has been experiencing rapid economic growth and improving social conditions. Supply unreliability is a concern holding back economic development, with most countries facing frequent blackouts and often relying on expensive and polluting solutions.

Clean, indigenous, and affordable renewable energy solutions offer the continent the chance to achieve its economic, social, environmental and climate objectives.

According to the 'Scaling Up Renewable Energy Deployment In Africa' report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Africa could meet nearly a quarter of its energy needs from indigenous and clean renewable energy by 2030.

Modern renewables amounting to 310 GW could provide half the continent's total electricity generation capacity. This corresponds to a sevenfold increase from the capacity currently available, which amounted to 42 GW.

A transformation of this scale in Africa's energy sector would require average annual investment of $70 billion US dollars to 2030, resulting in carbon-dioxide emissions reductions of up to 310 megatonnes per annum.

West Africa growth supported by World Bank

In West Africa the new Regional Electricity Access and Battery-Energy Storage Technologies (BEST) Project, supported with $465 million from the World Bank Group, will increase grid connections in fragile areas of the Sahel, build the capacity of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), and strengthen the West Africa Power Pool's (WAPP) network operation with battery-energy storage technologies infrastructure.

This is a pioneering move that makes way for increased renewable energy generation, transmission, and investment across the region.

"West Africa is on the cusp of a regional power market that promises significant development benefits and potential for private sector participation," Charles Cormier, practice manager in the Energy Global Practice at the World Bank, says.

"Bringing electricity to more households and businesses, improving reliability, and harnessing the region's substantial renewable energy resources—day or night—will help accelerate West Africa's economic and social transformation."

Over the past decade, the World Bank has financed close to $2.3 billion of investments in infrastructure and reforms in support of WAPP, considered the key to achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 in the 15 ECOWAS countries. This new project builds on progress and will finance civil works to accelerate access in Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal.

In Mauritania, rural electrification will be expanded through grid densification of existing substations, which will enable the electrification of Boghe, Kaedi and Selibaby, and neighboring villages along the Southern border with Senegal.

Communities in Niger's River and Central East regions that live near Niger-Nigeria interconnector will also gain grid access, as will communities around substations in Senegal's Casamance area. Connection charges will be partially subsidised, which will help keep costs down for the estimated one million people expected to benefit.

In Côte d'Ivoire, Niger, and eventually Mali, the project will finance BEST equipment to improve the stability of the regional electricity network by increasing the energy reserve in these countries and facilitating integration of variable renewable energy.

Battery-energy storage technologies will enable WAPP operators to store renewable energy generated at non-peak hours and dispatch it during peak demand, instead of relying on more carbon-intensive generation technology when the demand is high, the sun is not shining, or the wind is not blowing.

It is expected that BEST will further spur private sector participation in the region by supporting the market for renewable energy, as the battery-energy storage capacity installed under this project will be able to accommodate the 793 MW of new solar power capacity that WAPP plans to develop in the three countries.

"These ambitious results will be achieved through a regional approach," Deborah Wetzel, World Bank director of regional integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and Northern Africa, adds.  "By working together, these countries can optimise investments and economies of scale, harmonise equipment and standards, and synchronise systems to deliver the transformative power of electricity to more people and usher in a new era of low-carbon energy trade."

Power to Ethiopia

Last year the World Bank approved a $500 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to support Ethiopia's goal of achieving universal electricity access by 2025.

Over the past decade, the Government of Ethiopia has made encouraging progress on its electrification program and expanded the grid network coverage to nearly 60 per cent of towns and villages.

Despite this progress, Ethiopia has the third largest energy access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa with more than half the population still without access to reliable electricity, especially in deep-rural areas which are dependent on biomass and kerosene.

The electricity deficit in Ethiopia continues to exacerbate the poverty situation, preventing far too many people from fulfilling their basic socio-economic needs and limiting access to opportunity.

The Access to Distributed Electricity and Lighting in Ethiopia (ADELE) Project is an important component of Ethiopia's National Electrification Program (NEP), which aims to strategically change direction from infrastructure development to the delivery of adequate, reliable, and affordable electricity services.

"With a goal of providing electricity services for nearly 5 million people, 11,500 enterprises and 1,400 health and education facilities, the project represents the World Bank's continued support to the Government of Ethiopia's NEP and is aligned with our commitment to support Ethiopia's resilient recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic.

It is also an important step towards improving service delivery and addressing drivers of fragility and conflict" Ousmane Dione, World Bank country director for Ethiopia, explains.

An important feature of ADELE will be the deployment of innovative solutions such as decentralised renewable energy technologies, particularly solar photovoltaic (PV) mini-grids and individual solar system for both household and productive use, deployed through a combined approach of public and private delivery modalities that further enhance affordability and inclusion.

The project also has a strong focus on closing the gender gap in the energy sector and increasing the percentage of women participating in the mini-grid sector and off-grid technology value chain.

Supporting a renewable future for Africa

Renewables provide the chance for Africa to leapfrog to a sustainable, prosperous future. Increasing access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy resources is a key priority, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Around 600 million people in Africa still have no access to power, representing 48 per cent of the continent's population of nearly 1.2 billion. Accelerated deployment of renewables creates jobs and brings health benefits.

The renewable energy sector today employs 10.3 million people worldwide. With far-sighted industrial policies and targeted skills development, millions of new jobs can be created in Africa. Doubling the share of renewables by 2030 would create additional economic value by increasing global gross domestic product by up to 1.1 per cent.

This would signify a 3.7 per cent improvement in global welfare and jobs for over 24 million people in the renewable energy sector. This would enable further economic benefits such as improved healthcare services, especially in the most remote areas.


ERA, UETCL Boards Meet To Bond, Strategize For Better Electricity Sector

Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) on Tuesday, July 5, 2022, hosted the newly inaugurated board of the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) on a courtesy visit at ERA House, Plot 5C-1 Third Street Lugogo, Kampala. 

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Hon. Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa on June 8, 2022, swore in the new UETCL board of directors with Mr. Kwame Ejalu Ejuku as the new Board Chairman.

Other members of the new board are Ms. Achiro Sharon Loka (an independent director), Eng. Innocent Oboko Yotkum (Independent Director), Ms. Sylvia Muwebwa Nabatanzi (independent director); Mr. Julius Mukholi Wamukota (non-independent director and also the representative of the Ministry of Finance), and Eng. Cecilia Nakiranda Menya, a non-independent director and also the representative of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development. 

Dr. Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi, the Chairperson of the Authority, congratulated the UETCL Board upon their appointment and thanked the Board for accepting to serve the Electricity Supply Industry as the stewards of the UETCL. "Your appointment is a demonstration of trust and confidence in your abilities that equally comes with great expectations," said Dr. Wasagali. 

Dr. Wasagali emphasized that UETCL's sustainability, sound governance, and Going Concern status were of great interest and concern to the Authority and stakeholders in the entire Electricity Supply Industry value chain.

She pledged ERA's unreserved commitment to support the UETCL Board to effectively execute its mandate so that it can contribute to the achievement of the Government of Uganda's aspirations for the improved social welfare of society for the socio-economic transformation of our country Uganda.

Mr. Kwame Ejalu Ejuku, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of UETCL, thanked the Authority for the warm reception and congratulatory messages.

"We were honored by our appointment to this crucial sector in the development of our country, and we take it seriously. As we took our roles, we were aware of the negative stories circulating in the media. We are committed to creating a well-governed and vibrant institution," said Mr. Ejalu.


"We pledge to cooperate and thank the Authority for the support already rendered. We value ERA as our priority stakeholder.”


Present at the reception of the UETCL board were the Board and the Chief Executive Officer of Electricity Regulatory Authority Eng. Ziria Tibalwa Waako, and George Rabajungu, the Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited.

Subscribe to this RSS feed