In Uganda we have been successfully trialling and refining our ABCD™ off-grid rural power services model funded by CDKN.

We provided 99.9% uptime solar power to an anchor clients’ mobile phone tower, whilst also providing power to pump clean community drinking water and drip irrigation pumps for small-holders, and provided the solar home kits for domestic lighting.

A = Anchor Client

Anchor clients are creditworthy customers with multiple sites who value reliable power.

Completed in only 12 days from placement of contract to power-on, we up-graded Seeta Tower to a near full solar solution, reducing diesel consumption (and its associated theft and CO2 emissions) by over 90%. Creditworthy customers with multiple sites who value reliable power. Completed in only 12 days from placement of contract to power-on. Cell phone towers demand a high standard (99.98%) of power availability: which is less than 2 hours outage per annum, a level of service seldom met by a national grid. After 12 months of operation following the upgrade, Seeta tower has achieved a 100% up-time.

B = Businesses

B represents businesses or micro-enterprises, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy. Drip-irrigation can have a significant impact on the profitability of small-holder farmers. Uganda typically has two rains: the big rains and small rains. Whilst high-value fruit and vegetables can be grown in the big rains, over abundance causes prices to fall. Drip-irrigation allows continuous cropping with 3-4 cropping rotations per annum using high yield varieties, as opposed to lower yield (so called drought resistant) varieties. Furthermore, crops can be timed to avoid the low-priced glut in the rainy season and so command higher prices in the markets.

C = Community Facilities

Contributing to a better future. The water project provided unexpected engineering challenges. High-efficiency, solar-powered water-pumps assume an unlimited water source, and vary their pumping rate according to the availability of sun-light. Tests at the charity donated village bore hole showed that the bore hole now had a limited flow rate. As usual our engineers rose to the change, completing a power solution which added batteries to pump at night, restricted the maximum flow rate and varied the pumping power depending on whether water is being pumped to the low level village drinking water tank; or to the upper drip feed irrigation tank situated beside the most fertile fields some 500 metres distant and a further 20 metres above the bore-hole. The system has run continuously without fault from its installation. Villagers no longer depend on a contaminated water seepage and have clean safe water on tap within the village boundary. This significantly reduces the labour associated with fetching water and which is exclusively a chore carried out by the women and girls in the village. Villagers pay for the services via a house fee.

D= Domestic

Domestic Solar Home Systems – PAYG household power on an affordable plan. Solar Home Systems provide high-quality lighting and cell phone charging for households. The PAYG fees provide a substantial saving over the cost of kerosene and candles for light and the fees incurred in regular trips to town to recharge their mobiles. The kerosene lamps provide low and flickering light levels, and give off large amounts of heat and soot, increasing the incidence of respiratory diseases, especially amongst women and girls who spend more time indoors. High quality, clean steady solar light typically increases evening study time by an hour each evening, giving rise to improved academic achievement and improved job prospects. There is a demand for an ability to up-grade the systems and a willingness to continue to pay so that over-time, and on an affordable plan, the villagers can gain the benefits of full electrification.

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