Access Power, Eren RE break ground on flagship PV project in Uganda

March 17 (SeeNews) -  Dubai-based Access Power, along with French Eren Renewable Energy (Eren RE) today held the groundbreaking ceremony for a 10-MW solar power array in Uganda.

 The USD 19 million (EUR 16.75m) photovoltaic (PV) project will be based in Soroti, some 300 km northeast of the Ugandan capital Kampala. It will be owned and operated by Access Uganda Solar Ltd, a partnership between Eren RE and Access Power.

The PV plant is expected to be operational and connected to the national grid in July 2016, providing solar power to 40,000 local homes and businesses.

So far, it is East Africa’s largest solar project as well as the largest privately-funded PV plant in Sub-Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa, a news release of Access Power notes.

Spain’s TSK Group has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and will sub-contract parts of the work to local firms.

The project was 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). Financial close was reached in January 2016, just a few months after the developed signed power purchase agreement (PPA) under the GET FiT support scheme for renewable energy projects, which is managed by Germany's KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda's government. 

Uganda currently has about 800MW of installed electric capacity, mostly from hydro and thermal sources, and has an 18.2% electrification rate, according to the World Bank.

The first grid-connected solar plant in Uganda in Soroti will make a significant contribution to increasing electrification rates in the region, which enjoys some of the highest levels of solar resources in the country. In addition, with a design life of 30 years, the plant has the capacity to expand as its sub-station is able to handle a further 20MW of solar energy, Access Power said.

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Browse all articles from Mariyana Yaneva

Mariyana is a founding member of the Renewables Now team. With nine years of professional experience in renewables she has built strong expertise in the wind industry and French-speaking markets.

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