East Africa's largest solar plant online in Uganda

Uganda has started up its first grid-connected solar power plant at Soroti in the northeast of the country,  jointly developed by energy investment groups Access Power and Eren Re.

At 10MW it ranks as the largest such project in the East African region.

The $19m project was developed under the Global Energy Transfer feed-in tariff, a dedicated support scheme for renewables projects managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency, and funded by Norway, Germany, the UK and EU.

The plant,  comprising 32,700 modules,  will supply sustainable electricity to 40,000 homes, schools and businesses.  The project is financed by a mix of debt and equity with the senior debt facility being provided by FMO,  the Netherlands Development Bank, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund.

A 20-year power purchase agreement for the Soroti plant was signed with the state-owned Uganda Electricity Transmission Company in September 2015.

Uganda, an oil producer of some 34 million people, has around 800MW of electricity capacity,  mostly from hydro power dams and thermal sources.

“Uganda is a good place to invest in solar energy.  The regulatory framework is conducive and government rightly recognises Uganda’s energy future must be renewable,”  says Kristian Schmidt,  the EU’s ambassador/head of delegation to Uganda.

“It is great that this is now triggering private sector interest in solar power generation.  The EU is proud that our grant contribution ensures the realisation of the Soroti solar plant, and I hope this is only just the beginning for many more to come.”

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