Solar power can reduce cost of business operations - experts

Nexus Green Chairman, Ms Baroness Verma (R) with the CEO and Founder of Nexus Green, Mr Rikki Tarun Verma (Middle) with his wife Ashley Verma, the Company’s PR Director, posing for a picture with some staff members during Solar Business 2 campaign recently. Photo | Ismail Musa Ladu

What you need to know:

  • Uganda has abundant energy resources, with hydropower (hydrological) being one of them yet there is still widespread energy poverty throughout the country, all attributed to lack of capacity and investment in other energy sources such as solar power. 

Tapping into additional renewable resources such as solar energy will reduce widespread energy poverty being experienced in most parts of the country, according to renewable energy sector experts.

Uganda has abundant energy resources, with hydropower (hydrological) being one of them yet there is still widespread energy poverty throughout the country, all attributed to lack of capacity and investment in other energy sources such as solar power. 

To address this anomaly, renewable sector experts are now exploring different power resources, with Nexus Green, a solar-powered solutions provider, taking the lead in unlocking the power of the sun to power the economy and drive economic sector activities. 

Already Nexus Green is set to supply the agriculture sector with Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems, with the objective of deepening the use of irrigation in the wake of weather unpredictability.

Speaking during the Solar Business 2 Business campaign, Nexus Green Chairman, Ms Baroness Verma, told Daily Monitor in an interview that Nexus Green is looking to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that make up the majority of the economic sector, reduce the cost of doing business while also promoting transition to cleaner and reliable source of energy for not only their company operations but also crop irrigation – for the case of farmers.

Despite energy generated to the national grid according to the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERA) increasing by nearly 695 GWh in 2022 compared to 2021, the country's energy sector, according to government records, still faces challenges including power shortages, increased demand, and a lack of new power-generation projects.

Additionally, according to the electricity sector regulator, in 2022, most of the energy was generated from hydro-power plants constituting 78 per cent of the total energy, followed by Bagasse/cogeneration at 10 per cent.

Revealing perhaps, is the fact that the lowest amount of energy generation of 5 per cent was obtained from solar plants. This, however, could change with Nexus Green's new approach to have businesses take to renewable energy, particularly, solar energy.

Cost reduction

Should businesses buy into this initiative - which is highly probable, going by the buzz Nexus Green has created across the economic sector for the need to transition to solar power, renewable energy experts, including Nexus Green renewable energy specialists, are all of the views that it will not be long before businesses see a reduction in the cost of power which not only eat into the SMEs bottom line but perpetually increases the cost of doing business.

Sector studies show that the transition from traditional on-grid to off-grid - solar, going by sector statistics, can reduce the cost of companies’ energy bills by about 60 per cent.

“And this is something we are trying to make sure that the businesses understand,” Ms Baroness said during the double launch of Solar Business 2 Business campaigns and Nexus Green irrigation business.

She continued: “Businesses look for stability and return on investment. One way to reduce the cost of doing business is by reducing costs dominated by energy. I believe we can actually help businesses reduce that cost.

Investment prefect weigh in

Transition to renewable energy is part of the country’s long-term blueprint. For that, the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) believes that the renewable sector presents massive investment opportunities.

Commenting on the solar-powered irrigation pumps which Nexus Green will be undertaking after entering into an agreement with the Ministry of Water and Environment, the investment prefect describes it as a way to go, saying this is one of the many available investment opportunities that the renewable energy sector presents. 

“We cannot depend on rain-fed agriculture forever. We have to be able to have predictable yields which means we cannot avoid irrigation. And now with solar, we can sustainably rinse,” the Director General of Uganda Investment Authority, Mr Robert Mukiza told Daily Monitor during the launch as mentioned above.

Mr Mukiza also disclosed that there are “very many investors that are eco-conscious and looking to invest in renewable energy.

He said: “We have a lot of people coming into renewable energy investment in Uganda to support our energy ambitions.”

He continued: “Uganda wants to become upper-middle income and for that, we will need around 40,000 to 50,000 megawatts of power. So we need to encourage and invest more in energy to ensure that our power needs are satisfied.”