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MNRE and ISA President Unveil Nine Solar Demonstration Projects in Uganda, Comoros and Mali

Discussions during the meeting focussed that solar energy in Africa has grown rapidly as an emerging solution to address the region's energy challenges and contribute to sustainable development.

September 01, 2023. By Nivedita Ojha

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) organised its 5th regional meeting in Kigali, Rwanda supported by the Government of Rwanda, with the participation of 36 nations and Ministers of 15 nations.

According to the Ministry, at the meeting, the President, International Solar Alliance and Union MNRE, Government of India, RK Singh, who attended the meeting virtually from New Delhi, unveiled three solar power demonstration projects in the Republic of Uganda, the Union of Comoros and the Republic of Mali.

RK Singh stated, "These demonstration projects transcend their energy provision role; they serve as drivers of advancement and emblems of global cooperation. At the International Solar Alliance, our dedication remains unwavering in furnishing additional instances where such showcase projects can enhance the well-being of the underserved. We seek to lay down compelling models for replication in our Member Countries.”

Discussions during the meeting focussed that solar energy in Africa has grown rapidly as an emerging solution to address the region's energy challenges and in contributing to sustainable development. Africa's abundant amount of sunlight makes it suitable for solar power production, and many initiatives are under progress to tap this potential.

He further added, “The ISA has completed demonstration projects in eight countries. These include the solarization of health centres in Comoros, Guyana, Niger, Uganda and Mali; the solar irrigation project in Jamaica and Togo; and the solarization of school buildings in Kiribati and Uganda. The fundamental concept behind these demonstration projects is straightforward yet compelling: to showcase the remarkable potential of solar technology applications in enhancing the lives of individuals across our member nations. As we witness the realization of this vision through the inauguration of three demonstration projects today, I am overwhelmed by a sense of optimism and gratitude.”

Director General of ISA, Dr. Ajay Mathur stated, "Solar energy in Africa presents a remarkable opportunity to tackle energy deficits, advance sustainable development, and contribute to global endeavours in combatting climate change. Sustained collaboration among governments, private sector entities, and international organisations is indispensable to unleash the complete potential of solar energy across the continent."

The Ministry mentioned that through grants provided by the International Solar Alliance, the solarization of a rural healthcare center and three primary schools, with a capacity of 8.5 kilo-watt peak and a 17.2 kilo-watt hour battery storage system, has been operated in Uganda worth of USD 48,835.

The officials stated, "Similarly in Comoros, solarization of two rural healthcare centers in Banguoikouni and Ivembeni, with a capacity of 15 kilo-watt peak and a 33 kilo-watt hour battery storage system, has been completed at a total cost of USD 49,999. Solarization of three rural healthcare centers in Koula, Sinzani, and Doumba, of the Republic of Mali, with a capacity of 13 kilo-watt peak and a 43 kilo-watt hour battery storage, has been done at a total cost of USD 49,995.”

Ajay Mathur remarks that the “Energy access challenge is more acute in Sub-Saharan Africa and in rural areas. The report identifies a combination of electrification approaches, centred around solar energy, with an emphasis on solar mini-grids and Decentralized Renewable Energy solutions, which can be deployed to address energy access challenges in different situations. Promoting such solutions can also lead to locally developed innovative ideas and business models coming to the forefront, which can greatly enhance the solarization of country's energy generation.”

The Union Minister explained that ISA is an international organization that is in alliance with G20 Presidency of the Republic of India, and as a partner in the 2023 G20 processes, a noteworthy information that ISA has been boosting is the requirement to foster solar energy for universal energy access and in facilitating a sustainable energy transition.

The report specifies a strategic vision of delivering solar-driven solutions to handle the global energy access challenge efficiently and economically. The report provides case studies, examples, innovative policies that can make a crucial shift in the establishment of solar mini-grids.
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