Excitement as Rural Communities in Lamwo get Connected to Solar Power

The pilot project has seen 25 villages, eight trading centres and selected public institutions that have not been not part of the national electricity grid in Lamwo district with more expected to be connected to the power grid.

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Over one thousand households and small local businesses in the remote areas of Lamwo district have sighed with relief after being connected to the solar power mini-grid under the rural electrification project. 

The mini solar power grid is being funded by the government through the Office of the Prime Minister under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) project, the Rural Electrification Agency -REA with support from the European Union and German Cooperation -GIZ. 

The pilot project has seen 25 villages, eight trading centres and selected public institutions that have not been not part of the national electricity grid in Lamwo district with more expected to be connected to the power grid.

The benefiting trading centers include Pawena in Palabek Gem Sub County, Ogili in Palabek Ogili Sub County, Ngomoromo and Aweno Olwiyo in Lokung Sub County, Paloga in Paloga Sub County, Tumanun and Loromibenge in Agoro Sub County. 

Some benefitting villages are Kapeta, Ayuu Alali in Palabek Kal Sub County, Muddu Central, Otaa, Apyeta West, Apyeta Central in Palabek Ogili Sub County; Pangira, Logwok, Licwar Central, Lelapwot West in Lokung Sub County. 

Others are Opoki in Padibe West Sub County, Labayango Primary School and Labayango in Padibe East Sub County, Lapidiyenyi in Paloga Sub County, Apwoyo, Oboko, Ywaya, Pany-Buk East, Pany Buk West and Moroto East in Agoro Sub County. 

The Technical Energy Advisor at GIZ-Uganda, Olga Namatovu, says the solar grid project being piloted in numerous parts of the country is part of the government’s efforts aimed at enhancing access to quality and reliable energy to the rural people.  According to Namatovu, for the case of Lamwo the mini solar grids were installed in over ten different sites from where power is generated and supplied to communities already connected to the grid. 

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Namatovu says the main idea behind the projects is to generally support investments and industrialization which are instrumental in supporting growth and sustainable development of the economy. 

The Lamwo district vice Chairperson Mathew Akera Okoya, commended the government for the project saying it will go a long way in improving the quality of life of the rural population that have been unable to connect to the national electricity grid. 

Okoya pledged commitment as leaders to implore the local people to identify available investment opportunities that can be propelled by as a result of electricity; and exploit them and on how to embrace and use it productively. 

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Moses Omach, a business operator in Potika Trading Center says the solar power energy is not only reliable but also affordable since its unit cost has been subsidized by the government as compared to the solar units and petroleum products they have initially been using.   

According to Omach, most businesses have been relying on petroleum products and light solar systems to power their refrigerators, television sets and music systems which are associated with high costs as compared to the rates chargeable by the new solar power project.

Suzan Akech a resident of Lapidiyenyi in Paloga Sub County expressed pleasure over the project saying following inductions on the clean energy solution, beneficiaries have wholesomely embraced it since it’s environmentally and health friendly. 

Akech says most residents have been using kerosene lamps and candles for lighting which have not only been a potential health hazard to locals but have also been expensive as compared to use of the clean renewable energy. 

Stephen Labalpiny, the Officer in Charge of Agoro Health Centre III anticipates that the mini-solar grids will play an important role in advancing healthcare provision in rural communities in Lamwo.

“With the reliable solar available now, night shift operations at the health facility will be achieved and safety of immunization vaccines under constant refrigeration will as well be maintained”, says Labalpiny. 

The Ogili Sub County LCIII Chairperson Christopher Omal says access to energy in the remote areas has remained unattainable for decades and he anticipates that the project will mainly help farmers in adding value to agricultural products through the small scale industries. 

Omal also says through Winch Energy, the company operating the grips and supplying solar energy has managed to provide employment opportunities during the project installation, maintenance and other services.