On Thursday, Dubai-based Access Power and French EREN Renewable Energy (EREN) launched the construction of a 10MW solar plant in Uganda.
The $19 million photovoltaic project, based in Soroti northeast of Kampala, will be owned and operated by Access Uganda Solar Ltd, a partnership between EREN and Access Power.
In a company statement, Access Power disclosed that the 10MW solar plant is expected to be operational and connected to the national grid by July 2016, providing clean, low-carbon, sustainable electricity to 40,000 homes and businesses.
The groundbreaking ceremony saw an attendance of dignitaries from the Ugandan ministry of energy, European Union and Netherlands ambassadors to Uganda, as well as representatives from the German and Dutch development banks, KfW and FMO.
Major milestone for Access Power
Executive chairman of Access Power, Reda El Chaar, commented: “Breaking ground today marks a major milestone for Access Power and its shareholder EREN RE, for Uganda and for the development of Africa.
“Only by working together can we effect real change and answer the urgent need for electrification of so many.”
Meanwhile, Christophe Fleurence, vice president of business development – Africa of EREN, highlighted their excitement about the partnership as it marks the company’s first co-development in Africa.
Fleurence stated: “The extensive political and international support to this project, unprecedented in Uganda and in the region, demonstrated again at the occasion of the groundbreaking ceremony, underlines the broad willingness to shift boundaries in electricity generation.
“EREN RE, which is a renewable energy investor and a long-term independent power producer, is determined to switch light on in many other places in Africa and emerging markets more generally, as efficiently as it was achieved at Soroti.”
Uganda’s regulatory framework conducive
In February, ESI Africa reported that for this project, Spainish-based company, TSK Group, was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and will sub-contract parts of the work to local Ugandan firms.
According to the firm, local labour is being hired for the construction phase and the developers will also recruit and train engineers to operate the plant.
EU head of delegation to Uganda, ambassador Kristian Schmidt, said: “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.”
He added: “The EU is proud that our Euro 8.7 million ($9.9 million) grant contribution ensures the realisation of the Soroti Solar Plant, and I hope this is only just the beginning for many more to come.”