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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