Uganda takes solar energy to new ground

2009-08-20 15:06

ABOUT 400 000 more Ugandan homes will have access to electricity by next year if the country’s ground-breaking solar energy project goes according to plan.

Energy and mineral development director Paul Mubiru says the country is ready to exploit its high solar energy potential with the help of developed countries such as Canada, Germany and Denmark.

“Should this ambitious solar energy plan be effectively tapped, it could lead to cutting down on electricity consumption costs by 65%, maintaining a pollution free environment, creating wealth through commercial ventures and job creation,” says Mubiru.

He says the project will save the country’s ravaged rainy forests, which are being decimated for domestic use, thereby affecting the country’s rain patterns and resulting in successive drought seasons and threatening the country’s food security.

In some rural areas in northern Uganda, people are already using the solar energy to light up homes, charge cell phones batteries and to power radio and television sets.

However, more than 80% of most solar companies are in the capital city of Kampala, making most products unaffordable and inaccessible.

But with the help of the World Bank, Germany, Denmark and Canada the government is trying to lower costs and accessibility by providing subsidies.

“With such a possibility, Uganda could be on the path to expanding its solar energy to historic new grounds,” says Mubira.

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