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Cost, Access Issues Pushing Ugandans Off National Grid to Solar Energy :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Cost, Access Issues Pushing Ugandans Off National Grid to Solar Energy

The study indicates that up to 44 per cent of households in rural areas now use solar photovoltaic (PV) connections up from only 21 per cent of the rural population that was using the same in the financial year 2016-17. Similarly, more households within the urban areas, are using solar power from 8 per cent in the financial year 2016/17 to 23 per cent last financial year.

Audio 5

A cross-section of residents in Luwero district says they have turned to solar energy over lack of access to the electricity supplied through the national grid. Others say that they were driven off the grid by the exorbitant power costs.

The testament follows findings that households that use solar energy in the country increased by 20 per cent from 18 per cent in 2016/17 to 38 per cent in 2019/20, according to the Uganda National Household survey 2019/20 report released by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics.

The study indicates that up to 44 per cent of households in rural areas now use solar photovoltaic (PV) connections up from only 21 per cent of the rural population that was using the same in the financial year 2016-17. Similarly, more households within the urban areas, are using solar power from 8 per cent in the financial year 2016/17 to 23 per cent last financial year.

Isaac Wapamba, a resident of Kayonza village in Butuntumula sub-county says he bought a solar kit at 700,000 Shillings three years ago over a lack of power connection in his village. He says that apart from the cost of purchase, he hasn't incurred any additional costs implying that he has saved millions of Shillings which he should have spent to power his house.

Cue in: “Am using solar…

Cue out;…very expensive”//

Luganda // Cue in: “Okuva bwetwatandika….

Cue out;….ku bbeyi”//

Samuel Kiwanuka, a resident of Kakinzi village says solar power is reliable and cheaper compared to hydro and thermal energy which is supplied through the grid. Kiwanuka says that solar kits are bought once and you don’t need to service or pay expensive monthly bills

Moses Luyinda, the Director of Noah's Ark a shop that deals in solar products in Luwero town acknowledges that there has been increased demand for solar products in recent years. Luyinda says that solar kits go as low as 80,000 Shillings which is affordable to the majority of the population.

//Cue in; “Ba kasitoma…

Cue out…zisoboka kati.”//

David Kalungi, the Secretary for Natural Resources says that increased access to solar energy in villages has helped to reduce fire outbreaks as well as pollution in homes. Kalungi explains that families which used ordinary kerosene lamps are prone to fire outbreaks.

// Cue in; “Solar installations are ….

Cue out..their places”//

Luganda//Cue in: “Twafuna kampuni…

Cue out;....eya wansi.”//

Richard Mwesigwa, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA) says the findings are an eye-opener to the government that the sector is now of big importance to the citizens. He says they have worked with the Uganda Bureau of Standards to set minimum standards for solar products and called upon the government and Banking sectors to extend financial services to the solar energy service providers to increase supply of quality products.

According to studies at the Ministry of Energy, Uganda on average has enough sunshine to produce 5.1-kilowatt-hours per square meter.

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