In East Africa, Uganda is gearing up to commission its first solar power plant in the Soroti District, which will feed 10MW of power into the national grid later this month.
The generated power will be supplied to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company through a power purchase agreement for $0.11 per unit generated.
Solar tariff raises some concern
Owned by Access Uganda Solar Limited, there is some concern around the existing unit charge as the rate is considered high and increases production costs, therefore bumping up local product pricing, The Monitor reported.
According to the Electricity Regulatory Authority’s chief executive officer, Benon Mutambi, the $0.11 tariff is low in comparison to other markets.
Mutambi said: “In other countries, the price of solar is in the range of $0.15 to $0.18.
“We were able to get it at $0.11. We did not go for unsolicited bidding; we went for competitive bidding.”
According to the project owner’s operations manager Phillip Karumuna, they are installing a 3.4-kilometre transmission line from the plant to the Lira-Opuyo electricity substation nearby, The Monitor reported.
According to media, concrete poles imported from Kenya are being used to distribute power from the plant to the substation.
Karumuna explained that concrete poles were selected as the material of choice as they are not susceptible to rot: “They will last for the lifespan of the panels, 25 years,” adding that each pole costs around $400.
Uganda faces new vice
In other infrastructure news, Umeme’s managing director, Celestino Babungi, launched the campaign in a bid to curb illegal electricity connections, which results in unbilled electricity leading to revenue loss for the company, reports local media the Daily Monitor.
Babungi said: “Power theft and vandalism of electricity infrastructure are fundamental and a key problem.”
He noted: “We have had eight incidents of network vandalism at Nkenda in Fort Portal, in Kawanda and Kwania. Umeme loses Shs7 billion ($207 million) per month.
According to local media, Umeme’s executive stated that due to losses the company has decided to register electricity consumers and for now will give illegal consumers amnesty of 30 days to register their connections.