Uganda has just launched the largest solar plant in East Africa, following in the footsteps of countries like India and Morocco in embracing clean energy.
The solar plant called the Soroti Solar plant is located on 33 acres of land in Soroti District, where the sun shines daily. It is also made up of 32,680 photovoltaic panels and has an output of 10 to 12 megawatt. The Soroti solar plant engulfs the solar field at the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda, the 42-acre power plant shaped like the African continent, which has a capacity of 8.5 megawatts.
The Soroti solar plant, which is expected to generate clean, sustainable electricity to 40,000 households is Uganda’s first grid-connected solar plant.
The solar plant also reportedly has the capacity to increase its net output capacity by 20 megawatts of solar energy.
Uganda currently has an electrification rate of 18.2 percent, according to World Bank, and generates about 850 megawatts of electricity, mostly from hydropower dams. Officials have stated their desire to see this capacity increased to 1,500 megawatts by 2018.
The Soroti solar plant which cost $19 million was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariff (GET FiT), a scheme managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and, in part, the European Union (EU).
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), reached the conclusion that no more than 20 percent, and in some countries as little as 5 percent, of the population in Africa (excluding South Africa and Egypt) has direct access to electricity. A figure which at worse stands at 2 percent in rural areas of Africa.
As more African countries embrace clean energy and solar power for electricity generation, Africa is poised to grow considering the lack of proper electrical power is a huge dent in its capacity to advance.