Solar power project benefits over 5,000 households in Ukara island

11Dec 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Solar power project benefits over 5,000 households in Ukara island

MORE than 5,000 households on the Ukara island of Ukerewe district - Mwanza Region have benefited from the first phase of the solar project known as “Micro Power Economy, Tanzania Roll-out” implemented by JUMEME Rural Power Supply Ltd.

This was recently noted by one of the JUMEME directors, Prof Costa Mahalu in his speech to officials from the European Union (EU) and Rural Energy Agency (REA) who visited the solar projects in the district.

Prof Mahalu said apart from households small businesses and industries, as well as community facilities such as hospitals and village water utilities have benefited.

“JUMEME has so far electrified 20 villages on 10 different islands, stimulating the local economy and creating numerous work opportunities in the process.

“An important focus of JUMEME is long-term local collaborations, which includes investment in local employees.

“Each and every one of the employees working as engineers for JUMEME in its 12 sites is a Tanzanian. Of the 25 people making up JUMEME’s permanent team, 22 are locals, which are given, clear preference when it comes to staffing. Given the success of the first roll-out, we hope to be able to provide even more job opportunities for our youth for the on-going 2nd and 3rd roll-out and potential further ventures of JUMEME,” he said.

Prof Mahalu who is also the vice chancellor of SAUT, added that as a shareholder of JUMEME, SAUT is leading the recruiting process and providing field work engineering opportunities to students.

“Local commitment is the main driver in our search for new staff members. The company is striving to empower and build the capacity of local engineers and young professionals for the purposes of running the numerous mini-grids it is continuing to build in Tanzania, via trainings, practical experience, and offering leadership positions in the organisation.

“The idea is that by helping young professionals extend their knowledge, not only individuals but the sector as a whole will profit by gaining competent workforce specialised in the development of solar mini-grids,” he said.

He said JUMEME’s main objective is to provide reliable and affordable electricity to areas which the National Grid is unable to reach. JUMEME’s tariff model includes not only the provision of electricity but also the electrical wiring inside the houses as well as a large part of the electrical appliances.

“Customers are free of any grid connection costs. The highly energy efficient light bulbs and electrical appliances, which are provided by JUMEME, further reduce the overall costs for the electricity services significantly.

“JUMEME aims at setting up a total of 300 mini-grid systems and to serve over 1,000,000 people by the year 2023 across rural Tanzania, in line with the government of Tanzania’s agenda of electrifying rural Tanzania,” he said.

JUMEME is a joint venture formed under "Micropower Economy roll-out in Tanzania" project co-funded by the EU. JUMEME was founded in 2014 to develop, build, and operate mini-grids in rural Tanzania.

The company is a partnership between: St. Augustine University of Tanzania, INENSUS, a leading German company specialising in the development, technology and consultancy services of rural mini-grids; Terra Projects, an Austrian specialist in renewable energy project development; and the majority shareholder RP Global, an Austrian developer, investor and operator of renewable energy projects.