The solar industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Uganda. However, the maintenance of solar systems poses challenges for both operators and users in rural areas due to the limited availability of skilled labor. Living and working in metropolitan areas like Kampala is more lucrative for skilled professionals, causing a drought of technical workers in non-urban settings. Customers in rural areas often do not know how and where to contact well-trained technicians. In addition, suppliers often refuse to service the equipment they deliver rural areas because the journey is too expensive and time-consuming.
The Innovation Village (TIV) sees itself as a supporter and starting point for innovators, start-ups and companies. Their digital Tukole platform is a meeting point for customers, companies, start-ups and craftsmen*. As part of the Tukole solar project, the app will also become a marketplace for services from the solar sector in the future. To increase the trust of potential users, only qualified professionals will be able to offer their services on the platform.
TIV operates the Tukole platform and will implement the Tukole solar project. Access to the platform is free of charge for both customers and service providers. Only when contracts are concluded, will Tukole receive a commission to enable the further expansion and continuity of the platform. For the education and training of solar technicians, TIV cooperates with the Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC). CREEC is a non-profit organization for research, education and consulting, founded in 2001 and registered since 2010. It specializes in rural electrification and the productive use of energy, among other areas. The organization has many years of experience working with government organizations, and is based at Makerere University in Kampala.
To ensure that the Tukole solar project gets off to a successful start, TIV is focusing on awareness and information campaigns in the four districts of Kampala, Gulu, Jinja and Mbarara. In doing so, TIV cooperates with educational institutes, the Ministry of Energy and the Solar Association. The campaign is aimed at users of solar systems, solar companies. And solar technicians. Job seekers in the solar industry can register online. The project aims to train at least 160 technically competent solar technicians by the end of the project and integrate them into the Tukole platform. At least 30 percent of the available training positions are allocated to women. Together with CREEC, TIV will also ensure that all registered technicians are trained according to the national solar standard and are only included in the platform after they have undergone a re-testing process or training.
The project aims to increase awareness and offerings for qualified maintenance and repair of solar systems, and thus the confidence of customers. Through this, solar systems will be perceived as operating safely and maintained efficiently, even in rural Uganda.