East Africa’s largest solar plant starts operations

A new 10 megawatt facility has been launched in Soroti, Eastern Uganda. The solar plant made up of 32,680 photovoltaic panels is the country’s first grid-connected solar plant and the largest in East Africa. It is expected to generate clean, low-carbon, sustainable electricity to 40,000 homes, schools and businesses in the area.

The project owned by Access Uganda Solar Ltd, a partnership between Access Power and EREN Renewable Energy, was developed under the Global Energy Transfer Feed in Tariff (“GET FiT“), a dedicated support scheme for renewable energy projects managed by Germany’s KfW Development Bank in partnership with Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Agency (ERA) and funded by the governments of Norway, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union. The GET FiT programme helps renewable energy sources become more affordable and therefore more accessible in Eastern Africa.

The $19 million Soroti Solar Plant is in part funded by the European Union – Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund through the GET FiT Solar Facility equivalent to 8.7 million euros in the form of result-based premium payments per kWh of delivered electricity.

“Soroti solar plant is an excellent textbook example of how collaboration among key local and international stakeholders can result in the successful execution and completion of such a ground breaking project and in tangible progress in the spread of renewable energy across Africa,” David Corchia, CEO, EREN RE, stated. He reaffirmed his organisation’s commitment to the African power sector “and we look forward to replicating this model in many other African countries in other districts in Uganda and across the region.”

The H.E. Ambassador Kristian Schmidt, European Union Head of Delegation to Uganda said in his speech: “Uganda is a good place to invest in solar energy. The regulatory framework is conducive and Government rightly recognises Uganda’s energy future must be renewable. It is great that this is now triggering private sector interest in solar power generation. The European Union is proud that our grant contribution ensures the realisation of the Soroti Solar Plant, and I hope this is only just the beginning for many more to come.”

The project is financed by a mix of debt and equity with the senior debt facility being provided by FMO, the Netherlands Development Bank, and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF).