Kirchner Solar Group and launch large electrification project in Uganda

Modular solar generator solargenset empowers sustainable, green and affordable power supply for rural areas

Kirchner Solar Group, an international manufacturer, project developer and vendor of solar solutions, implements a large solar power supply project in Uganda, East Africa. The project is supported by means of a development partnership in the context of the program, run by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH (German Agency for International Cooperation) on behalf of the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (Federal Department for Economic Collaboration and Development). The project's objective is to give Uganda's rural population access to climate and health-friendly electricity while at the same time ensuring the power supply for radio masts. This is done through solargensets, a Kirchner Group in-house development. These are modular, off-grid solar generators with a power output of up to 22MWh of solar energy per year.

80 percent of Uganda's 34 million people live on agriculture, while 27 million of the East African state's population live in rural areas. There, only three percent of all households have a power connection with a clear impact on the economic growth of small service and craft businesses. The energy demand so far is primarily covered by expensive and hazardous paraffin, petroleum, kerosene or diesel generators and lamps. Kirchner Solar Group has operated an office in Uganda for some time and have a more than ten-year track record of committing themselves to a sustainable, solar-based electricity and energy supply in the East African country.

The solargenset is an important developmental step for Uganda towards greater independence from the price fluctuations of international commodities markets, and an option for affordable access to energy for private households and businesses. The solargenset is a portable container solution fitted with 48 monocrystalline high-performance PV modules that produces up to 22MWh of power annually. In this way, two objectives are achieved simultaneously: On the one hand, the modules supply electricity to the local population; on the other, they feed the energy demand of the radio masts operated by leading Uganda-based cell phone provider Airtel. Thereby, it will help establish a full-coverage cell phone network, particularly in rural areas. Moreover, a single solargenset will save up to 6.38 tons of CO² per year. "Access to energy is an important prerequisite for economic development, particularly in countries whose grid is only little developed, like in Uganda, where a solution like the solargenset can have a huge and sustainable impact. Since the systems use PV modules to produce electricity anywhere, they can be flexibly deployed where they are most needed. We are therefore delighted to create this development opportunity for Uganda's people, together with Kirchner Solar Group", says Helma Zeh-Gasser, head of the program at GIZ GmbH.

Business development opportunities in Uganda
The GIZ's development partnerships are projects in which companies pool their technical competence with the know-how of the governmental development and collaboration organization of the Federal Republic of Germany. This connects business interests with goals of development policy, such as vocational training, environmental protection, energy supply or technology transfer in the program, the GIZ, on behalf of the Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, BMZ (the German Department of Economic Collaboration and Development Agency), which holds regular idea contests among German and European companies in order to trigger new collaborations. Therein, companies submit concrete suggestions for development partnerships and demonstrate how they can create development benefits through their activities. "We are happy to see the launch of the off-grid project in the context of the program. The support from GIZ enables us to implement the project at this scale and to achieve a true improvement in Uganda's energy supply", says Hans Wulff, Business Coordinator of Off-Grid Solutions at Kirchner Solar Group.

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