Photovoltaic industry in Uganda : local manufacturers of PV components and imported products - efficiencies and national standards
Da Silva, Izael Pereira
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Energy is a key factor for the development of a country. In many remote areas of the third world with good insolation such as Uganda, photovoltaic is one of the most suitable ways of providing energy to rural areas. The government of Uganda is actually pushing what is called “Rural Electrification, Strategy and Plan” to foster a massive purchase and use of Solar Home Systems. Nonetheless, in order to spread photovoltaic technology, one of the main difficulties of a country is the lack of proper framework for importation of the components, maintenance, and data on technical performance of these components. This paper does a national survey on local manufacturers of deep-cycle batteries, charge controllers, lights and inverters; panels are not available as yet and it won’t be in a foreseeable future. Given the importers possibilities, it also does an economic analysis comparing products from China, India, Europe and USA, taking into account the actual governmental position in terms of taxes on photovoltaic products. Some valuable data are presented on the experiences of NGO’s and local communities; how successful have they been, problems they face, etc. The concern about quality and the idea of providing the costumer with a reliable product drove the authors also to analyse the documents of the Uganda National Bureau of Standard establishing national standards and minimal warranty for all components related with solar energy and write some few considerations. Finally, taking advantage of other countries experiences a specific solar home system is designed for Uganda users.