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Belgium’s Tiger Power, UREA Ink Deal To Light Up Kyenjojo Villages

Belgian renewable energy company, Tiger Power has signed an agreement with the Ugandan government to power 3000 rural households and businesses in Kyenjojo, western Uganda.

The deal was inked yesterday at Hotel Africana between Uganda Rural Electrification Agency (UREA) and Tiger Power top bosses, and witnessed by Belgium’s ambassador to Uganda, H.E Hugo Verbist.

Last week, we reported that Tiger Power had received a grant from the Belgium government for this project that is supposed to cost EURO 600, 000.

Currently, three communities lack access to electricity. By mid-2019 this will change. Kyenjojo, Kyaburyezibwa, Mukiti, and Nyamicu are the communities going to benefit from the project.

According to the deal, Tiger Power will bring a number of Sunfolds and Storagers to the trading centers of Kyenjojo. The Sunfold is a fordable PV-array including a lead-crystal battery bank. Tiger Power will assist the REA for a year in training local technicians and maintaining the power plant. Afterwards, the REA will be responsible for operations.

“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”, Jonathan Lambregs, Tiger Power’s Business Development Manager East Africa told PV Magazine.

A Tiger Power official makes a statement at Hotel Africana yesterday.

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.

“90% 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.

Tiger Power will bring a number of Sunfolds and Storagers to the trading centers of Kyenjojo.

UREA is supporting these projects by building the distribution network to transmit the electricity to households and businesses. “The Ugandan government plans to supply 26% of its rural residents with electrical power by 2022. Currently only 10% have access to electricity in rural communities”, Godfrey Turyahikayo, CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency of Uganda said. “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.

Ambassador Verbist making remarks during the opening of the Belgian Development Day. He emphasized absolute priority of investing in human capital for the development of a country.

Tiger Power is currently shortlisted for a tender to develop and to operate 25 mini-grids in Northern Uganda. With the Kyenjojo projects implemented and operational, Tiger Power will have proof of concept which helps winning this tender. Such a proof of concept will also allow for further large upscaling and demonstrates to the Ugandan government that Tiger Power is engaged to invest in Uganda.

This news comes as the Belgium Embassy in Uganda celebrates twenty years of existence in the country. Events to celebrate the two decade milestone begun last Thursday and will climax today with a concert featuring Belgian Indie Rock Band Intergalactic Lovers at the Design Hub in the capital Kampala. Uganda’s Kaz Kasozi will also be performing at the concert.

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