Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA) has asked the government of Uganda to support solar power vendors in their quest to promote better regulations and the use of clean energy throughout the country.
The Association Chief Executive Officer, Joyce Nkuyahaga, who was conducting media training in Kampala cited the influx of counterfeit solar equipment on the market as a major challenge affecting the sector.
“USEA and CREEK were formed with assistance from Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) to provide the expertise and ensure that quality solar systems are supplied to the market,” Nkuyahaga said during the media training.
About 25 media professionals were trained and equipped with relevant knowledge and information about the renewable energy sector.
“USEA is cognizant of the role of the media and needs for access to the right information and experts in the renewable energy sector, in raising awareness about the benefits of transitioning from climate-harming technologies to clean energy solutions like solar,” Nkuyahaga explained.
“We believe that by providing training and other opportunities that the media can leverage in providing the necessary information to the public, the media will be empowered to report effectively about this sector and promote the use of solar energy among millions of people in Uganda,” she noted.
As part of its efforts, USEA together with Energy without Borders has been conducting a month-long awareness campaign dubbed Let’s Go Solar aimed at promoting the use of solar products in Soroti, and Mbale Municipalities, to sensitize up to 149,675 and 108,558 households, respectively.
The campaign which is expected to benefit over half a million Ugandans living in the two districts started on January 9th, 2019 and ended on March 1.
“Access to clean energy remains a challenge for many communities in Uganda and hinders economic development. It’s therefore important that USEA and the media work together to help address the bottlenecks that people face in accessing quality clean energy solutions if Uganda is to achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” said Julius Magala, the Energy Access Coordinator, Clean Start Programme (UNCDF).
According to a study on the use and Viability of Solar Energy in Uganda by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, 88% of Ugandans use kerosene for lighting and 79% use firewood for cooking while only 1% use solar energy for the two purposes.
The heavy reliance on biomass by the country as a source of energy in a day to day life puts the country at risk of environmental degradation and climate change.
USEA, the umbrella body for the solar energy industry in Uganda is working with several partners including; UNCDF, USAID, UKAID, WORLD BANK and the Government of Uganda to increase the uptake of solar products, promote better regulation and good business in the industry.
BY PAUL TENTENA