KAMPALA (Reuters) – Uganda on Monday started up its first grid-connected, 10 megawatt solar power plant as the east African country moves to tap its renewable energy resources and expand its electricity generation capacity.
Funded by Norway, Germany, UK and the European Union, the $19 million plant was developed by Access Power and Eren Re, two energy sector investors based in Dubai and France respectively.
Uganda, a prospective crude oil producer of some 34 million people, generates about 850 megawatts of electricity, mostly from hydro power dams.
Officials have said they want to increase that capacity to 1,500 megawatts by 2018 and are seeking foreign investors to develop the country’s non-traditional energy sources such as solar and geothermal.
The plant, a vast field of some 32,600 photovoltaic panels, is located in Soroti in northeastern Uganda and the electricity generated will help power at least 40,000 homes.
Last week Uganda signed a 90 million-euro ($95.55 million)loan deal with German development bank KfW and French government finance agency AFD to build a 45 megawatt (MW) power plant in the country’s west.
($1 = 0.9419 euros)
(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Louise Heavens)