Uganda launches East Africa’s largest solar power plant in Soroti


(Posted 12th December 2016)

Uganda wrote East African history today when a solar power plant was officially inaugurated by Hon. Simon D’Ujanga, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Energy.
Representatives of UAE based Acess Power, of EREN RE, the European Union and KFW – the German Development Bank – among others were on site in Soroti to witness this momentous occasion.
Over 32.000 photovoltaic panels produce an initial 10 MW of electricity, fed into the national and local grid, but the plant can be expanded to 30 MV once added agreements have been signed.
The project was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (“GET FiT”), a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The GET FiT programme helps renewable energy sources become more affordable and therefore more accessible in Eastern Africa.
The US$19 million Soroti Solar Plant is in part funded by the European Union – Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund through the GET FiT Solar Facility equivalent to 8.7 million euros in the form of result-based premium payments per kWh of delivered electricity.
The project is 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). Located on a 33 acre plot of land in Soroti District, the power plant has the potential to increase its net output capacity by a further 20MW of solar energy. At peak construction the plant had over 120 local workers involved, including engineers recruited and trained by Access Power and EREN RE.
The new power plant will reduce Uganda’s carbon footprint even further and should it reach full projected capacity will it be good news and serve as a pilot for similar plants, not just in Uganda but across Eastern Africa.