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Gomba solar project adds 20MW to national grid

The Observer



At least 20MW of solar power have been added to national grid after Xsabo Group, an energy firm, officially opened its mega flagship project on Wednesday.

It is the biggest solar project in the region. The project is one of the five lined up to make 150MW of solar power that the company intends to install in Uganda.

Dr David Alobo, a Ugandan-based in Germany and the CEO of Xsabo group, said at the commissioning of the project based in Kabulasoke, Gomba district: “The word pilot in our license indicates, for us as a project, this is just the beginning. The documented understanding with Electricity Regulatory Authority is that we may move to the next site after completion of at least 70% of the pilot solar power plant…but we completed this 100%.”

The project cost $24.5m (Shs 92bn) but Xsabo intends to spend a further $200m in Uganda when it starts new projects in Nkonge Mubende (50MW), Soroti (50MW), Lira (10MW), and Kasese (20MW) take shape. This will total up to 150MW.

The next project starts in April in Nkonge in Mubende. Dr Alobo decried bureaucratic delays that affected the Gomba project, telling President Museveni that they “hope nobody inside and outside government and its territory organs will frustrate us again this time as it happened much too often in the past.” “We never paid bribes and that is why our project delayed,” Alobo said.

On the financing, Alobo said: “We are hot cake now. That’s why you see all the banks here”.

He indicated that initially banks didn’t want to give them money but after successfully completing the Gomba project, the banks are now approaching. In Gomba, the project already had impact, with at least 400 youths.

The project power will be bought by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited, which buys bulk power, and then ordinary households will be sold power from the national grid. Villagers in Gomba said they didn’t want to see electricity lines passing over their houses but wanted to actually use the power. President Museveni applauded the project and said solar power did not have many limitations and it was environmentally friendly.

“But I told them [investors] that the power price has to come down. But that we’ll take it slowly [negotiating with the investors].”

Uganda will buy this power at about 11US cents per Kilowatt per hour (about Shs 350). Domestic users in Uganda are currently buying electricity at Shs 670 per unit. Museveni wants the investors to sell power to government at about 8 US cents.

.@KagutaMuseveni has commissioned the multi-million #KabulasokePilotSolarPowerPark owned by a Ugandan based in German Dr. David Alobo through his company Xsabo Group. This project alone cost US$24.5m abt Sh 91.4bn. He intends to invest in four more at a cost of US$

— Nabusayi L. Wamboka (@lindahNabusayi) January 9, 2019




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