On One Map: Making solar projects and expertise more visible
Energy supply in rural Uganda is still based on charcoal, firewood and kerosene. Only seven percent of rural areas are electrified. Solar energy solutions would be a good alternative, as solar radiation in Uganda is twice as high as in Germany. Some of these systems exist, but too many of them are not functional, partly because there is a lack of expertise and technical maintenance staff available, especially in northern Uganda. As a result, many residents do not trust renewable energy solutions, and investors are reluctant to devote their resources to it.
The Urbis Foundation (UF) and Action for Child Social and Economic Transformation (ACSET), a non-profit organization, are implementing the Promoting Renewable Energy Use in Uganda (ProREU) project with the aim to reduce the shortage of skilled personnel in the Lango sub-region of northern Uganda. To achieve this goal, the partners are focusing on three objectives. First, they want to train 50 young Ugandans, who already possess some degree of technical knowledge on solar technologies in a five-week course, followed by a pratical internship with solar manufacturers. Second, ProREU wants to create an interactive map for the project area that will include all solar installations – both working and idle. Third, it wants to intensify cooperation and exchange between solar companies, organizations, investors and maintenance workers.
The Urbis Foundation (UF), based in Munich, focuses on the fields of decentralization and knowledge transfer and has many years of experience with international solar projects in Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and beyond. In Uganda, UF has been working for many years with the Ugandan non-profit organization ACSET. The organization is active in the areas of agriculture and economic development, education, renewable energy and clean water supply, as well as health and social security. ACSET is anchored in the Lango sub-region and cooperates with numerous Ugandan organizations.
ProREU partners with the Ugandan Technical College (UTC) in Lira for training activities and uses an existing curriculum from the Nakawa Vocational Training Institute (NVTI) for its courses. The focus of the training course is on the installation and maintenance of solar systems. Young people between the ages of 18 and 30 are selected for the courses, and women are expected to make up a large proportion. At the end of the training, the trainees receive a certificate and can complete an internship in a solar company. The trained Solar Extension Agents (SEA) then form a network together with local technicians and maintenance specialists. They will become part of the interactive map, while also being involved in the data collection themselves. The map will show key stakeholders such as solar companies, other technicians, as well as installed solar systems that are present in the project area. On the one hand, the map will provide a good overview of business opportunities; and on the other hand, give investors and owners of solar installations easier access to solar technicians.