After launching a 19 million U.S. dollar solar power plant In the remote eastern district of Soroti, of the country, Uganda says it’s second solar power plant will start in six months when an investor is expected to have secured funds, allowing the country to expand its power supplies from cheaper and renewable sources.
The East African country is keen to boost its energy output, while lowering the cost, which officials say is vital to power businesses and drive economic growth.
It generates most of its electricity, about 850 megawatts (MW), from two hydropower plants on the River Nile. Ugandan manufacturers regularly complain about expensive power which they say makes their products uncompetitive in the region.
Officials have turned to renewable sources such as solar to offer a solution. The first 10-MW solar power plant, located in the country’s northeast, was commissioned in December.
Julius Wandera, spokesman for the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA), told Reuters they had licensed Disc Tech FZE, an Egyptian firm, for a second plant.
“We expect them to reach financial close in six months and that’s when construction should begin,” he said.
The plant, to be built in eastern Uganda, near the shores of Lake Victoria, will also generate 10 MW and it will cost an estimated $17 million to build, Wandera said.
“Our policy is to push the country more towards renewable energy because the country has vast potential,” he said.
Uganda is targeting crude oil production from 2020 and incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has said he wants some of the oil used to generate power which is expected to be considerably cheaper.