Access Energy Group and EREN RE, developers, owners and operators of power projects in emerging markets, have announced that construction of the largest solar project in East Africa will begin in March 2016.

The ten megawatt, $19 million solar photovoltaic project in Uganda is expected to be operational and connected to the national grid in July 2016, providing clean, low-carbon, sustainable electricity to 40,000 homes and businesses. It is also the largest privately funded solar power plant in Sub- Saharan Africa, outside of South Africa.

Access Uganda Solar Limited, a partnership between Access Infra Africa and EREN RE, will build the solar plant in the town of Soroti, 300 kilometres northeast of the Ugandan capital Kampala. Spain’s TSK Group has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and will sub-contract parts of the work to local firms. Local labour is being hired for the construction phase and the developers will also recruit and train engineers to operate the plant.

The location was chosen due to the region’s low power generation capacity and the need to reduce transmission losses. The first grid-connected solar plant in Uganda, Soroti will make a significant contribution to increasing electrification rates in the region, which enjoys some of the highest levels of solar resources in the country. In addition, with a design life of 30 years, the plant has the capacity to expand as its sub-station is able to handle a further 20MW of solar energy.