Uganda’s Kabulasoke Solar Power Park development ready for commissioning

Written By: Claire Wanja
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Energy matters:In this file picture, Mozambique Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy Dr.Ernesto Tonela (left) confers with Great Lakes Africa Energy (GLAE) Chairman Mr.Humphrey Kariuki (centre) and GLAE Director Mr. Michael Kearns at an MoUsigning ceremony in Maputo, Mozambique last year. GLAE is set to celebrate its seventh anniversary today, with yet another feather on its projects’development cap following the completion of a US$ 25 million solar power generating plant in Uganda to be officially commissioned soon.
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Energy solutions provider, Great Lakes Africa Energy (GLAE) celebrated its seventh anniversary on Tuesday with yet another feather on its projects development cap following the development completion of a US$ 25 million solar power generating plant in Uganda.

Acting as the lead financial and technical investor, GLAE is part of a development consortium comprising of Uganda’s Xsabo Power Limited which has been working to deliver the 24MW Kabulasoke Solar Power Park in conjunction with the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited.

With the official commissioning of the Kabulasoke Solar Power Park, which is the first of its kind in the East Africa region, Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, will be making a big leap towards enhancing its renewable energy capacity.

Keeping to its corporate reputation on projects delivery and as part of GLAE’s corporate development plans in the continent, the on-schedule completion of the 24MW Kabulasoke Solar Power Park, comes hot on the heels of the firm’s recent partnership with the Government of Mozambique.

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The partnership is to develop a natural gas fired electric power generating plant at an estimated value of US $400million. As part of the agreement signed last May, GLAE which also operates a 105MW power plant in Zambia’s copper belt town of Ndola, under Ndola Energy Company Limited (NECL), is set to develop, finance, own and operate the plant to be fed with natural gas supplies from Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin.

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In Uganda, over the festive season, the project development teams, literally burnt the midnight oil to complete critical commissioning tests on Christmas day, managing to achieve the project Commercial Operations Start Date (COD), ahead of the New Year.

The successful completion of the pilot commissioning tests and the achievement of a COD, in collaboration with the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL), now paves the way for the Kabulasoke Solar Power Park official commissioning on the Ugandan power grid for onward distribution to power consumers in coming days.

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According to GLAE Director, Mr. Michael Kearns, the Commercial Operations Start Date (COD) for the project, was achieved on Sunday, 30th December 2018 and duly confirmed by (UETCL), as per terms of a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Government of the Republic of Uganda.

“With the achievement of a COD milestone, we are now ready to undertake the ceremonial commissioning of the largest solar power park in East and Central Africa at the earliest opportunity,” Kearns said, adding that, “The grid switching of the Kabulasoke project marks yet another milestone for GLAE alongside our other projects in Ndola Zambia and Rovuma in Mozambique, where weare providing energy solutions to power national development ideals.”

Once officially commissioned, the Kabulasoke project, which is already connected to the national grid, Kearns said, will serve a population of more than 5million in rural Uganda, who currently rely on kerosene; among other non-renewable energy sources while affording more than 21,000 tons of carbon savings.

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“At Great Lakes Africa Energy we are proud to be associated with the Government of Uganda, Xsabo Power Limited and the consortium partners for making this project possible,” Kearns said, and added: “we are passionate about our mission to power the Great Lakes and Southern Africa region including Uganda, by developing and managing state-of-the-art power projects generated from the most efficient local sources of energy.”

Technically, the Kabulasoke solar power park, features Tier 1 poly crystalline solar modules with an efficiency of 17.6% which is now highest in the Industry ensuring a high energy yield. The engineering design for the project, also integrates a state of the art invertor plus power transformer solution to minimize energy losses. The GLAE Power plant design ensures less than 0.5%energy losses for the plant.

GLAE is in the process of securing additional Power Purchase Agreements in Africa and beyond and is currently screening opportunities in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Kenya, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo among other countries.

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