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Uganda, Access Uganda Solar (Access Soroti)

Delivering 10MWp of solar power to Uganda’s national grid

Uganda Access Soroti1

Context

Uganda has an electrification rate of just 18%. Accelerating industrialisation and continued economic and population growth in the region has led to a 7-9% per annum growth in demand for power. Uganda currently derives 82.1% of its installed capacity from hydropower plants. Although hydropower is clean and renewable, it is susceptible to fluctuating seasonal rainfall, putting the country at significant hydrological risk. In response, the Government of Uganda made a strategic decision to develop the country’s wider renewable energy sector. This included the creation, with international support, of a Global Energy Transfer Feed-in Tariffs (GETFiT) Premium Payment Mechanism designed to make small-scale (up to 20MW) renewable energy projects viable.

Project

The Soroti solar power plant is a 10MWp fixed-tilt solar PV power plant in Soroti, Eastern Uganda. Solar power projects require long-tenor loans and can experience difficulty in attracting long-term capital investors. EAIF provided Access Soroti with a US$5.35m loan with a tenor of 17 years. The project mobilised an additional US$14.2m from commercial and development finance sources. Grants were also received under the GETFiT programme, which EAIF has helped to develop, ensuring that the tariff for the electricity generated by Access Soroti ($0.11/KWh) remains competitive with other energy sources. The project sponsor, Access Uganda Solar, sells power to the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd under a 20 year Power Purchase Agreement.

Impact

Access Sorotit is the first industrial-scale solar project in Uganda and will assist in diversifying the country's energy mix. The project will bring down the average cost per unit of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by 263,355 tonnes per annum. Access Soroti marks the first major step in utilising the abundant solar irradiation of Uganda to address the country’s current electricity shortage and meet growing demand for sustainable, affordable power in the future.