Construction set to begin on 10 MW solar plant in Uganda

A consortium of European clean energy companies, solar EPCs and financing institutes are working together on the construction of east Africa’s largest solar PV plant – a 10 MW utility-scale solar farm in Uganda’s eastern town of Soroti.

Led by French clean power company Eren RE and African development specialists Access Energy Group, the $19 million project has already broken ground, with a completion date of July this year. Once connected, the solar plant will be one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, and will provide clean electricity to 40,000 local households.

The project is also the largest privately funded solar project in sub-Saharan Africa, with London’s Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, Dutch development bank FMO and Germany’s KfW Development Bank all involved at some stage with financing the project.

The solar farm is the first to be developed under Uganda’s GET FiT facility, which is a project set up jointly by KfW and the Ugandan government’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA). The European Union Infrastructure Trust Fund is also involved, while Spanish EPC firm TSK Group will oversee the construction of the plant, sub-contracting parts of the job to local firms.

Dubai-based Access Energy Group has earmarked a handful of solar development projects in Africa, and is currently in the process of developing 190 MW of solar PV in Egypt, as well as further schemes in Kenya, Ghana and central Asia.

According to Access Energy Group’s MD Reda El Chaar, renewable energy such as solar has a unique opportunity to augment Africa’s infrastructure and shape a cleaner future. "The limited availability of the grid in Africa plays an important role for the deployment of renewables," El Chaar told Bloomberg. "10 to 50 MW can be effectively plugged into the infrastructure."