Honorable D’Ujanga Simon, Minister of State for Energy, together with representatives of Access Power EREN RE and donors today celebrated the inauguration of the solar power plant in Soroti, Uganda.
Made up of 32 680 photovoltaic panels, the new 10 MW facility is the country’s first grid-connected solar plant and will generate clean, low-carbon, sustainable electricity to 40 000 homes, schools and businesses in the area.
The project was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (GET FiT), a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The GET FiT programme helps renewable energy sources become more affordable and therefore more accessible in Eastern Africa.
The US$19-million Soroti Solar Plant is, in part, funded by the European Union – Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund through the GET FiT Solar Facility equivalent to 8.7-million euros in the form of result-based premium payments per kWh of delivered electricity.
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 (EAIF).
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Uganda’s Minister of State for Energy, Ambassadors from the EU, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as key stakeholders from Access Power and EREN RE; TSK, the contractor who built the plant; FMO and Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) as financiers, and other key officials.
The H E Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda said in his speech: “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. It is great that this is now triggering private sector interest in solar power generation. The European Union 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.”
The ERA Chief Executive Officer, Eng Ziria Tibalwa noted, “that the Access Solar Uganda 10 MW grid connected solar PV project we are launching today is, so far, the largest in the East African region. We are so proud of this outcome of our stable and favorable regulatory environment that has produced such a leading project in the East African Region. We congratulate Access Solar and the people of Uganda upon this milestone.”