Considering the abundance of sunlight in Uganda, we should not be facing power outages as it is today. For instance, everyone has been lamenting about excessive heat over the last one month and a half, and we didn’t think about it as an untapped resource. It’s like having rain in abundance and then rushing to the well to fetch water after it has stopped raining. Solar energy is like rain; we only need to tap it and use it.
While there are currently bottlenecks that make it unattractive, such as the high cost, these could be mitigated if the authorities put in an effort to promote solar energy usage. This could take the form of scientific research and/or subsidies. Admittedly, some time back the government reduced taxes on solar panels, but these could be slashed even further as solar equipment remains too expensive.
There is no reason why the streets of Kampala and other major towns should be dark when solar lamps can do the job. The country is genuinely excited to have Bujagali hydro power coming on board this year, but reality is that before long Uganda’s electricity demand will again supersede supply and we’ll be back to square one.