Let’s Promote Solar Energy

February 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

In his speech to Parliament last week, President Museveni said he ordered the signing of oil agreements despite objections from Parliament partly because Uganda is losing time.

The President said a Chinese minister had cautioned him that oil might not be as important as it is today in the next 20 years because the world is increasingly looking to cleaner energy, which essentially means solar, nuclear and wind energy. Museveni also revealed that every day the world receives from the sun a total amount of energy that is 50 times the amount of electricity generated in the whole world for one year!

So, why are we are not vigorously promoting solar energy, one could ask?

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.

As the government looks to the expensive, long-taking and often environmentally unfriendly dam construction to meet Uganda’s electricity needs, we urge the authorities not to ignore the more sustainable energy solutions of the future such as the sun and wind.

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