GOVT AND WWF HAVE SET UP SIX SOLAR POWER MINI- GRIDS TO BENEFIT 800 HOMESTEADS IN KASESE AND CREATE A THOUSAND JOBS

Government through the Ministry of Energy in partnership with WWF for nature are implementing an ambitious project to scale up electrification in the Albertin Graben using innovative solar photovoltaic technology .

The project , intended to improve livelihood among the  rural communities in the mountainous border areas has  to-date , disseminated 5000 solar home systems, 50 institutional solar electricity systems and has completed the construction of six solar mini- grids with a total installed capacity of 186 KW, Ms Susan Nalwoga the Spokesperson at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development said..

As the Ministry of Energy prepares to commission the six solar Mini – grids mid this year , State Minister for Energy , Hon.Eng. Simon D’ujang was in Kasese District to inspect the progress of work so far done .

Eng. D’ujang held a meeting with the Kasese district leaders who thanked government and  WWF for the project that will enable the communities to access power for the first time. The local leaders told the Minister that the project has already helped improved  education and health service delivery  in the area.

The project they noted , will also help to reduce on their use of firewood for cooking and protect the environment .

Eng. Dujang explained to the local leaders that  government has constructed six  mini grids in the aea to provide solar electricity to the local people because they are far from the main grid. He said  that the project has been constructed by WWF, supervised by ministry of Energy and Mineral Development and will be managed by Rural Electrification Agency (REA) through a concession with the  private sector.

The Country Director for WWF Mr. Duli informed the team the  meeting that the 5 year project started by decentralising energy at the district level where they promoted renewable energy technologies by constructing 50 institutional stoves, disseminated 5000 solar home systems in health centres, schools and households.

Benefits to the communities

At least 54% of the households in this area have been connected to solar electricity and health workers are now able to deliver 12 babies per day compared to 3 babies who were delivered before solar installations.

The performance in school has improved in Kasese and Rubirizi districts as students are able to study  at night  and over 1,125 jobs have been created as a result of training in small scale businesses like welding, saloon among others.

It is estimated that some 820 households will benefit from solar connections from the 6 Mini-grids.

However , the project has not been without challenges including the delay to disburse funding from the developing partners ,poor maintenance of solar panels among others.

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