Homes and Property

You can power that up-country home this Christmas with solar

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You can power that up-country home this Christmas with solar

 

By Agnes K. Namaganda

Posted  Wednesday, December 4  2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Instead of waiting for whichever public function responsible to take electricity to your home village, self redemption could be the best option for you. Solar powering a home is much more affordable than one can imagine.

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You have probably been thinking of a befitting gift to give your parents back in the village this Christmas.

It may also simply be that while you savour those moments of sitting around a fire in the evenings eating roasted maize and catching up with friends and relatives during the festive season, that you still wouldn’t mind if after all is said and done, you can charge your phone and stay in touch with friends online, or that you can power up your laptop later in the night and do some work, or, that you can have some cold drinks with your meals, being upcountry far away from power lines notwithstanding.

Whichever way, solar may be the way to light up and get you excited about Christmas this time round.

And going by figures from different solar distributors, it will not cost you an arm and a leg to achieve this.

For a high end home
Infact, according to Joy Nuwasasira, the administrator at Power Options on Bombo Road, Shs 3.5m is on the high side and may be all you need to power up your upcountry home that has a double-door fridge, a 42 inch television working through the day, lights, coupled with charging phones and using your laptop.

Jamiru Muyende, a technician at, Solar Connect International, in Rubaga however says that for Shs2.5m to Shs3m, it is possible to have all the above electricals installed with the addition of a flat iron and energy saver bulbs given free of charge, for the purchase of any solar equipment above Shs2m. Ordinarily, he says, this flat iron goes for Shs80,000.

Nuwasasira explains that the price disparities from various solar suppliers arise from the quality of the equipment. Location of premises also plays a role.

This price covers the cost of installation for most solar providers, together with the respective solar panels, batteries, regulators and inverters. The purchaser however has to transport the technician because some locations are as far as Southern Sudan and Congo.

It can be way cheaper
But Muyende argues that you do not need to have all this money to have some strong light shining in your home when darkness falls.

“At Shs300,000, you can acquire a solar system that will light, normally, two bulbs at the same time and charge two phones. One bulb can light for eight hours.”

He warns however that there are so many fake solar gadgets sold by hawkers at less than this price but that many of them do not even live to one year yet it is impossible to trace their peddlers.

For this kind of system, Muyende says you do not need a technician to help set it up for you. “It is so simple to set up that we guide our customers and they all set it up successfully.”

For Shs1.5m, you will have a solar system with 6 bulbs, a 14 inch TV, a small subwoofer, plus charging phones.

Start cheap and upgrade your solar system
But just because you have only Shs1.5m today to purchase a moderate system does not mean that you can never have a fridge in your home. In fact you can go all the way in future to even acquire a photocopier if you want. Nuwasasira explains how.

Since it is quite expensive for an average Ugandan to have the whole system set up at once you can start by connecting to a few priority necessities like lighting your home, charging your phone and watching TV. You can then go on to connect a fridge, computer, flat iron and photocopier. Cooking and using a kettle require such a high voltage and are thus not advisable.”

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