IDEAS For Us | January 27, 2015

IDEAS For Energy Access: From California to Uganda

Uganda. The Pearl of Africa. That’s what I’m told, and hey, I’m not going to contest it. Yet aside from being the Pearl, Uganda is a land of immense sun, open lands, deep history and warm people. Over the past two weeks, in partnership with SunEdison and IDEAS For Uganda, we’ve been working non-stop to drive forward the IDEAS For Energy Access Program in Uganda. In simplistic terms, we’re working towards opening up the solar powered mini-grid and off-grid market in Uganda. Many rural communities here in Uganda will never receive electricity from traditional means of extending the electricity grid. Meanwhile, their thirst for energy and prosperity longs to be quenched.


Energy Access Talk

Considering the challenge that’s ahead, we’re following a systematic methodology of educating, engaging and empowering the people of Uganda to meet their energy needs. From stakeholder engagements to hosting Energy Access Talks (EAT’s) in rural communities (as featured above), we’re actively seeking to find local solutions for their localized problems. Some key activities over the past two weeks include meeting with:

  1. Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda
  2. Rural Electrification Agency, Uganda
  3. Electricity Regulatory Authority, Uganda
  4. Uganda Energy Credit Capitalization Company
  5. Uganda Investment Authority
  6. SolarNow
  7. Konserve Advisory Services LTD.
  8. BOSCO – Uganda
  9. ALCDI Uganda
  10. Four District-Level Mayors and their Staff
  11. Fifteen Rural Communities (including health clinics and schools)

On the other hand, we’ve been touring existing mini-grid and off-grid systems that are piloting in-country. These include a 5kW mini-grid in the Kasese District which is serving ~100 households/business for basic loads! This system took some serious coordination among various stakeholders and has now been in operation for 8 months. Check out this picture of the setup:

Kayanja Solar Micro-Grid

Overall, the trip has been a success. We are building strong relationships, gaining invaluable insight into the current state of the rural electrification space, and setting a foundation for potential mini-grid and off-grid development projects . Upon completing the visit and compiling my notes, I’ll hook y’all up with a more in-depth debrief but for now, here’s a taste of the Pearl. It’s incredible to work with such a talented group of leaders (IDEAS For Uganda) as their ability to mobilize communities and clearly articulate the purpose of IDEAS is astounding. I’m proud to be part of the IDEAS Movement.


Sunny Regards,