Power cuts are common in Uganda with several businesses suffering thousands of losses. In Soroti village located in the eastern part of Uganda, power shortage is common just like any other town in the country.
Power shortage has severely affected perishable products that rely on cooling systems powered mainly by the national power supply.
“Unfortunately when power is not there for like 6 hours that is automatically loss we are expecting. Because perishable goods cannot stay out of fridge for long time, like minced meat, sausages, ice-cream. When they melt that is a loss automatically,” said Hussein Samsudin, a supermarket manager in Soroti.
The east african nation decided to invest in a $19 million solar plant that lies in a 33 acre piece of land. The plant is able to produce 10 megawatts of power that can be fed in the national grid.
According to the vice president of Eren Renewable Energy, Christophe Fleurence, thousands of people in Soroti village will benefit from this new plan.
“The power output of this plant is 10 megawatts. This is enough power to power up to 40,000 families, schools, small business and end users,” he said.
The inhabitants are hoping that a new solar power plan will help solve this problem for good.
Kenneth Evans Okim is a DVD dealer who now hopes for a better future in Soroti village after the solar project was launched.
“Power supply in the country, national wide is not sufficient. So if this new solar plant has come in to, I would say, to back up on the power, then I think it is going to be too much help. It is going to help cover up the gaps of power blackout that have been there,” he said.
Uganda currently has 850 Megawatts of installed capacity of which approximately 645 MW is hydro and 101.5 MW is thermal generating capacity.
Demand for electricity has also been growing spurred by the increasing population. Statistics from the Ugandan government indicate that peak demand for power is growing by 15% every year.