BELGIAN renewable energy company Tiger Power has signed an agreement with the Ugandan government to power 3000 rural households and businesses in Kyenjojo. Currently, three communities lack access to electricity. By mid-2019 this will change. Tiger Power is building a solar power plant in each village backed up by on-site hydrogen production and storage. The technology prevents black-outs and supplies electricity to the community, pollution- and fuel free.
Solar power generator
The three villages in Kyenjojo will be powered by Tiger Power’s propriety system ‘Sunfold’, which is a complete solar power solution, including a storage system (battery/hydrogen). This allows households to watch television, schools to open early and later in the day, health centres to provide round the clock services and the miller to continue to work during evening hours.
‘We are very proud to bring this solar-hydrogen technology to Uganda. When the Sunfold generates insufficient power during cloudy days, the hydrogen generator takes over. Thanks to our technology, the Kyenjojo communities will never experience any black-out,’ explains Jonathan Lambregs, Tiger Power’s Business Development Manager East Africa.
Hydrogen is the most known element in the world. ‘We use the surplus of solar electricity during the day to produce hydrogen. The electricity causes an electro-chemical reaction separating H20 (water) into H (hydrogen) and O (oxygen). The hydrogen gas is stored and turned into electricity when needed. In this way we can power the community without the use of a diesel generator. This means completely pollution free electricity.’ explains Chris Prengels, CEO of Tiger Power.
Economic power booster
‘Ninety percent of rural Uganda still lacks access to electricity. This is one of the biggest obstacles to alleviating poverty and creating economic development. The mini-grids in Kyenjojo will provide reliable power for all aspects of the communities’ needs, health, education, businesses including the old and the new (miller and the welder). Our experience with other projects in Uganda and Kenya is that this type of solar mini grids will invigorate the communities in many positive ways,’ says Professor Bahaj, Head of the Energy and Climate Change Division at the University of Southampton. Prof. Bahaj’s team is embedded in the project from the beginning. The experts will carry out energy needs assessments as well as research on the socio-economic impacts of Tiger Power’s mini-grid projects.
The Ugandan Rural Electrification Agency is supporting these projects by building the distribution network to transmit the electricity to households and businesses. ‘The Ugandan government plans to supply 26 percent of its rural residents with electrical power by 2022. Currently only 10 percent have access to electricity in rural communities,’ says Godfrey Turyahikayo, CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency of Uganda. ‘Partners like Tiger Power and the University of Southampton are of great help to realise our objectives.’
The development of these 3 mini-grids accelerates Tiger Power’s mission to build 200 mini-grids across the East African region. The company is well on its way to reach this goal. ‘We have recently been shortlisted in a tender to build 25 mini-grids in Lamwo, Uganda. In Rwanda, Tiger Power plans to develop 30 mini-grids of which the first two will be commissioned in 2019. These projects will allow us to open up a workshop to provide jobs to Ugandans. Being able to contribute to the Ugandan economy makes us proud,’ says Jonathan Lambregs, Tiger Power’s Business Development Manager East Africa.
This world first project is supported by the Belgian government agency Finexpo. ‘We are glad to supports Tiger Power in exporting their solar and hydrogen solution to Uganda. This will help them to extent their business and provide needed jobs and development in Uganda,’ says Joeri Colson, Attaché at Finexpo.