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Engie Equatorial, a joint venture between EngieEnergy Access and Equatorial Power Ltd., has inaugurated a hybrid solar mini-grid in Lolwe Island in Bukooli, Uganda. The 600 kWp mini-grid is now providing reliable and clean electricity to 3,026 households and 757 businesses, impacting more than 15,000 people.
The hybrid mini-grid project that started in 2017, was launched last week by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, in the presence of Minister Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu. The Minister revealed that the integrated multi-utility project required an investment of nearly 3.2 billion Shillings (~USD 904,000) from the Government in subsidies under the rural electrification program.
The project integrated with productive hub and e-mobility services is one of the most advanced mini-grid on the African continent and has set new records in terms of value and replicability. It is an outcome of a strong Africa-Europe alliance that displays as a real game-changer for the energy sector in Uganda and the whole of Africa at large.
Beyond delivering renewable electricity, the Lolwe hybrid mini-grid also features a productive hub that will convert raw materials into value-adding products, meeting the basic needs of the island that are currently insufficiently met. The hub is equipped with water-pumping, distribution, and purification services, along with modern fish-drying facilities and ice-making devices for fish preservation.
The hybrid project includes an electric mobility solution for fishing boats and motorcycles, adhering to green energy-enabled infrastructure on the site. The Lolwe project has set the beginning of a “mini-grid 2.0” model that delivers more for investors and communities alike and delivers real impact through its scalable model – matching green infrastructure and ICT innovation.
Riccardo Ridolfi, CEO of Engie Equatorial, said, “With the Lowe project, we demonstrate our vision of energy access: electricity to us is not an end but a means to offer other essential services like clean water, agro-processing, and electric mobility as well. This is the vision we believe will truly impact communities and bring financially and socially sustainable development to the African continent.”
According to Gillian-Alexandre Huart, the CEO of Engie Energy Access, the mini-grids distributed renewable technology and integrated business model will provide significant development in the living and economy of the deprived communities in the country who are living far from the grid. The project has set the stage for the next generation of decentralized energy infrastructure and will help to accelerate the country’s energy access.