3,000 island households, businesses connected to solar power

3,783 households and businesses in Lolwe Island in Bukoli Sub-County, Namayingo District have been connected on the hybrid solar mini-grid of 600kw capacity.

There are 13 Islands and 52 gazetted landing sites in the district, However, Dolwe, Sigulu and Bukana form Bukoli Island County and has for years been the most disadvantaged due to lack of electricity and other utilities.

Launched on Friday by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, the Lolwe Island mini-grid project that started in 2017 is now delivering reliable and renewable electricity to 3,026 households and 757 businesses.

Suleiman Mukabire, the Chairperson of Kandege village said solar power has started to boost local businesses and improve the livelihoods of several youths who are employed in small scale enterprises.

According to Jackson Baraza, one of the advocates of renewable energy on the Island asserts that the mini-grid is offering cheap access to electricity and the beneficiaries are paying shs 14,000 compared to the past when they would pay for private generators at shs 3,000 for lighting each bulb in their homes.

The LCV Chairperson Namayingo Ronald Sanya pointed out that the Dolwe Island community have already started to develop and transform their livelihoods.

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Ruth Nankabirwa, who officiated the commissioning of the multi-million solar power plant, which includes an industrial park for preserving fish, and water purification rallied the residents to embrace modern energy technology.

Nankabirwa revealed that the integrated multi-utility investment cost the Government at least shs 3.2 billion in subsidies under the rural electrification programme.

Access to electricity in Lowe Island aims to address the rural population’s urgent need to access energy and clean water covered 45 kilometres of the electricity network, of which 21 kilometres was medium voltage and 24 kilometres low voltage, and a total of 18 transformers.

Currently, Dolwe’s population stands at 15,000 people but the hybrid solar mini-grid targets 300,000 households by 2024 in fulfilment of Vision 2040 and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 7.

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