A consortium of two firms have been contracted to build four solar plants of 5 megawatts each in Eastern Uganda as part of the Global Energy Transfer for Feed-in-Tariffs program, also known as GET-FiT.
These include a consortium of Access Power MEA, of the United Arab Emirates, and Spain’s TSK Electronica which will invest USD$17 million in a plant that will generate 10 MW of electricity.
The other is a consortium of Italian firm Building Energy Spa and Uganda’s Simba Telecom Ltd which will invest US$15.5 million to develop the second plant.
The two consortia will each build, own and operate grid-connected solar projects of 2×5 MW in Tororo and Soroti.
The project will see Uganda develop its renewable energy potential and build by far East Africa’s largest solar photovoltaic project, with a 20MW production capacity.
It is supported through a Euro 20 million (Ugx 68 billion) grant facility from the European Union made available by the EU Infrastructure Trust Fund through KfW, the German Development Bank.
There is currently no grid-connected solar plant above 10 MW across East Africa, making Uganda a first in the region.
Speaking on behalf of development partners at the occasion to announce winning bidders, EU Head of Delegation, Ambassador Kristian Schmidt said:
“New Solar projects will diversify Uganda’s electricity mix, reducing the current high dependency on hydropower, while reducing the need for thermal generation and reduce the emission of Greenhouse gases.”
He added: “I congratulate the Government of Uganda and the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) for their strong ownership and commitment within the GET-FIT program, and for their strong engagement with the private sector in renewable energy generation, within a well-developed and transparent sector policy and regulation.”
“After a competitive bidding process that was initiated in January 2014, projects proposed by the Ugandan-Italian consortium – Simba Telecom Ltd/ Building Energy Spa and the consortium of Access / TSK Electronica (United Arab Emirates/Spain) were selected to benefit from the GET FiT Solar Facility,” a Statement by the European union read.
Uganda currently generates about 600 MW of electricity, most of it from three hydropower plants on the Nile. ERA estimates electricity demand is growing at 10 percent annually mainly due to economic expansion.