The construction and installation of a multi- billion solar power plant, the first of its kind in Uganda, is to nearing completion.
The project site is located at Bukuzindu, Mugoye sub-county, Kalangala district. The construction and installation of solar panels had delayed due to resistance from locals. The site where the plant is located is a sand reserve.
The 1.6MW power plant will use solar thermal hybrid system to generate power which will be transmitted and distributed throughout Bugala Island.
The project was cost at 17 million dollars
Initially, the construction was supposed to start in 2012 but delayed due to protests by residents and district leaders. Kalangala leaders accused Kalangala Infrastructural Services of failing to consult them about the site while residents accused the firm encroaching on their sand reserve.
The location where the plant is in Bukuzindu is a sand reserve. This sand is used in glassmaking and construction. The residents backed by civil society organizations argued that the fencing off of this site meant that sand mining had been banned.
However, the construction and installation resumed in June. Ferdsult Engineering Services limited a Ugandan firm and Premier Solar, an Indian Firm is undertaking the installation.
John Opiro, the Managing Director Kalangala Infrastructural Services Limited says major installations at the site are done already. He says they expect all the installations completed by September this year.
Opiro says they expect it to be switched on October 1st this year to start power generation. He says they expect to supply 35,000 people on Bugala Island according to the public –private partnership agreement they signed with government.
Willy Lugoloobi, the Kalangala LC5 Chairman says they are excited about the project. He says the solar power plant will light up many families on Bugala Island that is not connected to the power currently supplied by UMEME in the Town Council.
Eddie Maaro, a resident of Kalangala, says the residents gave up the protests after part of the sand reserve was spared. He says the sand mining area was not tampered with. He also says they look forward to getting this solar power.