Building Energy inaugurates its first PV power plant in Uganda

18.10.2017
Ribbon's cutting ceremony for Building Energy's Tororo Solar Park in Uganda (photo: Building Energy)
Ribbon's cutting ceremony for Building Energy's Tororo Solar Park in Uganda (photo: Building Energy)

Building Energy S.p.A, multinational company operating as a Globally Integrated Power Producer (IPP) in the renewable energy industry, has announced the Inauguration of Tororo Solar Plant, its first photovoltaic system in Uganda, located at around 10 km from the border with Kenya. With a capacity of 10 MW, Tororo Solar Plant is among the largest in Eastern Africa.

Building Energy was also responsible for the development of the project, arranging the financing, construction, and commissioning of the plant. The beginning of operations has been celebrated on the occasion of the ribbon cutting ceremony in Tororo, in the presence of Matteo Brambilla, MD Africa and Middle East at Building Energy, Attilio Pacifici, EU Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to Uganda.

Consisting of 32,240 photovoltaic panels distributed over a 14 hectare site, the facility is designed to generate around 16 GWh of energy annually, catering to the energy needs of more than 35,838 people and. It will foster clean industrial development in the town of Tororo and at the same time save emissions of more than 7,200 tonnes of CO2 per year, corresponding to the consumption of around 2,800 petrol-powered cars. Community Development initiatives are also underway.

The Tororo Solar Plant 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 EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, the governments of Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund has provided funds through the GET FiT Solar Facility equivalent to 7,08 mio. € in the form of a top-up payment per kWh of delivered electricity over 20 years. This financing fills the gap between the generation costs and the feed-in tariff set by Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

The overall $19.6 million construction investment at Tororo was partially funded by FMO, the Dutch development bank which, as Mandated Lead Arranger, coordinated the provision of a $14.7 million term loan facility. 50 % of the funding was syndicated to the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) , while the overall equity contribution of the shareholders was $4.9 million. EAIF is a member of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, which is funded by the UK, Switzerland, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany and the World Bank Group.

The Tororo Solar Plant was built close to the Ugandan utility’s loading centres in order to reduce technical electricity loss that can occur with long-distance transmission. The Tororo Solar Plant is connected to one of Uganda’s largest electricity substations.

During construction approximately 350 jobs were created on the site, of whom 300 were Ugandan citizens. Permanent jobs have also been created to assist with the operation and maintainance of the facility. As well as its positive impact on the environment and sustainable economic growth, Building Energy is bringing additional benefits to the local community by helping with the building of a school near the solar plant, and providing textbooks to the schoolchildren.

With the Tororo Solar Plant going into operation, Building Energy’s total installed capacity in Africa has risen to 91 MW. From its Cape Town office, the Company manages and coordinates over 40 projects that are operational and under development in Africa and the Middle East across the technologies of solar, wind and small-scale hydroelectric energy.

“We are glad that the first photovoltaic park we have built in Uganda has gone into operation.” says Matteo Brambilla, Managing Director Africa and Middle East at Building Energy. “We are also proud to be making our contribution to more sustainable economic growth in the country through the provision of reliable, good-value electricity. At 18.2 %, Uganda’s average electrification level corresponds to one of the world’s lowest per capita electricity consumption rates. The Tororo photovoltaic park makes it possible not just to provide electricity to the local community, but also act as a driver of the city’s industrial development.”

Volker Buddensiek

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