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Masaka city seeks Shs 480million to expand solar energy streetlights

Some of the solar streetlights in Masaka

Masaka, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Masaka City Council is seeking at least Shillings 480 million to convert hydro-powered streetlights to solar energy, aiming for sustainable utilization. In 2017, the then Urban Council of Masaka Municipality received a grant of 3.6 billion Shillings from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.

This grant was part of a loan acquired by the government from the International Development Agency (IDA) to extend the Kawanda-Masaka hydropower line project. The funds were utilized to install hydro-powered lights on major streets and markets in the area.

However, Abel Ssembajjwe, the Masaka City Assistant Engineer, explains that due to challenges in maintaining the lights due to high power bills, the City Council decided in 2019 to uninstall all the LED lights until a more sustainable solution was found.

Ssembajjwe now proposes converting the 260 hydro-powered LED lights to solar energy to ensure effective functionality. These lights, currently stored in city facilities, will supplement the solar-powered lights obtained under the Uganda Support to Municipal Infrastructure Development (USMID) projects recently implemented in the area.

Additionally, part of the funds will be allocated to repair existing solar streetlights that have been vandalized or have exceeded their lifespan.

Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor, states that they anticipate funding the project from their local revenue collection budget. She criticizes their predecessors for accepting hydro-powered streetlights that were difficult to maintain.

Once converted, the lights will be installed in satellite trading centers outside the city’s central business area. Before the removal of the hydro-powered streetlights, Masaka Municipal Council faced a monthly expense of 26 million Shillings in electricity bills, surpassing the anticipated 14 million Shillings.

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