The government of Uganda has just signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of four large solar power plants totaling 500 megawatts (MW) of capacity!
According to PV-Tech, these solar power plants will be built for the Ugandan Development Corporation, possibly using Jinko solar modules as proposed by the Taiwanese-US partnership Ergon Solair, who is working with the Portugese firm Martifer Solar on the project’s development.
“Many of these communities are paying enormous sums for their energy. They are using diesel generators and kerosene. Solar can be competitive and help them save between 30 and 50% of their energy bill,” Lorenzo L. Colacicchi, CEO and chairman of Ergon Solair told PV Tech.
“We’re going to be working on micro-grids. We have proposed creating small localised grids for the communities so they don’t have to rely on transmission [networks]. We’ll be integrating some storage too,” added Colacicchi.
That is a good point. Uganda’s economy can benefit from reduced reliance on commodities that have large recurring costs (such as diesel) by transitioning to solar (which also creates construction and maintenance jobs). Solar requires only periodic cleaning and the replacement of few solar panels in the event of accidents or theft. Uganda imports all of its oil, which is a major economic issue that solar could help to address.
Construction of the plants is to begin in 2014, and it should be completed by October 2016. The government of Uganda has agreed to purchase the power they generate. Under this agreement, Ergon Solair will work to develop competitively priced solar power for rural communities and small businesses.
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