Uganda commissions 20MW solar power plant

Thursday October 11 2018

Solar power Gomba, Uganda.

Engineers work on a solar power plant in Gomba, Central Uganda. PHOTO | TIMOTHY KALYEGIRA 

By JONATHAN KAMOGA
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Uganda has commissioned a solar plant in its central region, that is expected to add 20MW to the national grid by November.

The plant, commissioned September 27 in Gomba district, is the second in the country after the one in Soroti, which came on board in December 2016, and is producing 10MW.

Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, who commissioned it, said the government is focusing on renewable energy to boost its ambitious hydroelectricity power generation.

Two mega hydropower dams at Karuma (600MW) and Isimba (183MW) which are nearing completion, are expected to push the country’s energy pool to over 1,600MW.

David Alobo, the managing director of Xsabo Group, which is behind the development, said the company’s choice of renewable energy was based on attracting foreign direct investment.

“How can we talk about surplus electricity when today only between 23 per cent and 28 per cent of our people have electricity and the several investors who visit our country after being wooed by the president decide to go and put their investments elsewhere citing lack of reliable electricity as one of the key reasons?” said Dr Alobo.

Dr Alobo added that the company’s move is in line with projections of solar becoming an important source of power for simple lighting, industrial use and powering cars.

Studies show that solar energy will account for nearly 70 per cent of the global energy mix by the year 2100.

“So solar power could do for Uganda in the next 15 years what mobile phone technology did for communications in the 1990s. We just have to do the needful,” he said.