The Africa Report 7 September 2015
One of the largest solar-thermal electricity producing plants in East Africa has been inaugurated in Uganda on Kalangala Island in Lake Victoria, as the region sets the pace in electricity generation investments.The solar thermal plant, with full capacity at 1.6 MW, benefitting over 20,000 customers, is the largest in East Africa and has been constructed at a total cost of $17 million covering transmission and distribution lines.
With Kalangala district currently only consuming 500 KVAs of power, the plant’s generation capacity leaves a substantial excess that is likely to boost industrialisation in the area.
Local authorities say the excess electric power is an added impetus that encourages investments on the island.
“People who have been selling paraffin for lanterns are going to disappear from Kalangala Island.
“Paraffin will soon be history because there is power on the Island. That is a big achievement,” President Yoweri Museveni said as he launched the project.
The project, according to local authorities on the island will also improve the standard of living for locals, lower the cost of doing business, improve trade with the mainland and encourage tourism.
The solar project is funded by various groups that include Uganda Development Corporation (UDC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Infraco Ltd, funded mainly by DFID of UK, Ned Bank Capital, Emerging Africa Infrastructural Fund and Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC).