The Innovation Village through its venture Tukole together with the Deutsche Gesellechaft fur International Zasammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) have launched the new solar program dubbed as “Tukole Solar Project” (TSP) which is part of the GIZ Green People’s Energy – Small project fund and Tukole App.
The project is tailored to enhance youth skilling in technical aftersales services, capacity building and supporting quick access to renewable energy and sustainable usage of solar power equipment.
Uganda is one of the richest countries in renewable energy resource. The sector is characterized by hydropower, biomass, solar energy, geothermal, peat, and wind. On average, the country receives a solar radiation of 5.1kWh/m2 /day which makes it the most promising and fastest growing sub-sector with the highest adoption rate compared to all the other renewable energy option.
However, the sector continues to face challenges in low uptake of solar equipment and inadequate knowledge and skilled personnel to offer aftersales maintenance and repair services in rural areas. This has led to the malfunctioning of many solar power panels and PV system which in the long run has affected sector growth.
According to Allan Okello, Tukole Business Lead, it is on these grounds that they decided to conduct the Tukole Solar Project (TSP) to resolve these issues. “The TSP project will recruit, and train 200 local solar technicians annually with skills to provide solar installation services, quality control and aftersales repairs and maintenance services to 5000 customers in a period of three years” Okello said.
He added, “These services will be accessible via the Tukole Service App and clients in need of these services can order for the services anytime at their convenience.”
“In June, we kicked off with the pivot program in Gulu city where we trained
42 solar technicians. These have started offering aftersales services to businesses and households across the northern region. This month, we start training in Jinja and Mbale then proceed to the Western Region.”
Eileen Lara, Project Engineer at Research in Energy and Energy Conservation said, “As of 2021, there are 200 members of the Uganda Solar Energy Association (USEA), all facing the same challenge of skilling solar technicians and setting the first National Solar Standards.
Lara said, “As major players in the implementation of the modern green energy in Uganda, we noticed this mismatch in skills among graduates seeking employment in the solar energy sector and the growing need for energy companies finding skilled personnel.”
Adding, “That is why we partnered with the Innovation Village and GIZ using our expertise in applied research and training to provide access to a professional labor force as well as connecting the labor force to market especially in rural areas.”
While officiating the launch, Dr. Brain Isabirye, the commissioner for renewable energy said that the Ministry of Energy and mineral development continues to promote the use of renewable energy while broadening the capacity and accessibility of resources among rural communities.
He said, “Harnessing the digital opportunities within the energy sector is a priority for us at the Ministry. This is because, it helps us incorporate access to labour and services digitally, a factor that will help the country is achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 which facilitates access to clean energy research and technology and 8 which promoted inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Uganda has abundant renewable energy resources which allows the country to have a sustainable and efficient path to provide its energy needs to power the long-term growth of its economy. “I believe initiatives like the Tukole Solar Project will help improve the country’s local content and the need to ensure efficient long-term solutions to our energy need to cater for our growing population and increasing urbanization that continues to reduce our carbon footprint.” Isabirye added