Multi-billion shilling solar park opens in Tororo

Italian renewable energy provider 'Building Energy' has cut the ribbon on a new multi-billion solar plant in Tororo district, eastern Uganda.

The plant with a capacity of 10 MW, consists of 32,240 photovoltaic panels distributed over a 14-hectare site.

The facility is designed to generate around 16-gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy annually, catering to the energy needs of more than 35,838 people in the area.

The solar power plant was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariff (GET FiT) support scheme for renewable energy projects, which is managed by Germany's KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda's government.

It is funded by the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, the governments of Norway, Germany and the UK.

The overall $19.6 million (71 billion Shillings) construction investment at Tororo was partially funded by FMO, the Dutch development bank which coordinated the provision of a $14.7 (53 billion Shillings) million term loan facility.

Fifty percent of the funding was syndicated to the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), while the overall equity contribution of the shareholders was $4.9 million (18 billion Shillings).

The GET FiT programme helps renewable energy sources become more affordable and therefore more accessible in Eastern Africa, a statement issued by Building Energy indicates.

The company anticipates that the Solar Plant will foster clean industrial development in Tororo and save atmospheric emissions of more than 7,200 tonnes of carbon per year.

"We are glad that the first photovoltaic park we have built in Uganda has gone into operation, and to celebrate with the whole Tororo community through this Inauguration ceremony," Matteo Brambilla, the Managing Director Africa and Middle East at Building Energy said during the launch.

"We are also proud to be making our contribution to more sustainable economic growth in the country through the provision of reliable, good-value electricity. At 18.2 percent, Uganda's average electrification level corresponds to one of the world's lowest per capita electricity consumption rates. The Tororo photovoltaic park makes it possible not just to provide electricity to the local community, but also act as a driver of the city's industrial development," he added.

Attilio Pacifici, the Head of the EU Delegation to Uganda, said the commissioning of the plant is an important milestone for Uganda.

"Despite rapidly rising cost-competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, the financing of renewable energy projects is still difficult in many parts of the world. Get-fit prefigures the approach the EU with its Member States want to promote with the ambitious new External Investment Plan (EIP).

"One of the key objectives of this plan is to encourage private sector participation in higher risk investments and we are happy to demonstrate today that Uganda is well positioned to be successful and a good model for replication," Pacifici said.


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