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Sweden to finance floating solar studies in Uganda

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Following the successful signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the GoU, represented by the MEMD, and Swedish Government, represented by the Swedish Embassy in Kampala, a number of initiatives have been proposed to support the Ugandan energy sector.

One of the key initiatives mooted was to unlock the renewable energy potential of the country by venturing into the floating solar space. The Swedish support will enable Uganda to pioneer the use of floating solar panels in sub-Saharan Africa.

With support of the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala, discussions were successfully held between GoU, represented by UEGCL, and Swedfund to provide grant support for analytical studies for floating solar development in Uganda. The grant has been secured and the process to hire a consultant for the studies is ongoing.

The study is envisaged to take approximately 21 months starting in January 2022, with a focus on pioneering the floating solar development on either of the reservoirs at the hydropower plants of; Nalubaale & Kiira, Bujagali, Isimba or Karuma. This is the first floating solar study being conducted in sub-Saharan Africa.

Presently, close to 80% of Uganda’s installed electricity capacity is from hydropower (large and small hydros) that is prone to climate change. The other energy sources are from co-generation, thermal and solar PV as is shown in the graph below;

In order to improve the energy mix dilemma, UEGCL with support from Swedfund plan to explore venturing into other alternative renewable energy starting with conducting analytical studies for floating solar technology.

Some of the main advantages of floating solar are;

  • No need for land hence no displacement of people
  • Utilizing the existing reservoirs for hydropower plants
  • Sharing of the transmission infrastructure to evacuate the power from floating solar facilities
  • Reduced evaporation on the hydropower reservoirs

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