solar panels power business surge - not just lights - in tanzania
Thomson Reuters Foundation-
Life in Samwel Nyakalege has recently become more difficult-a good thing. The 33-year-
Old Miller from Bwisya village, Ukara Island, Lake Victoria is one of the first to benefit from projects that bring solar energy to residents and businessesowners.
The four-child entrepreneur has been grinding millet, corn, rice and beans since 2007, but his diesel generator is expensive and hard to make a profit.
\"I used to buy a liter of diesel for up to 3,000 Tanzanian shillings (about $1. 40)
I need at least 50 liters per week to run the generator.
\"My business is barely growing,\" Nyakalege told the Thomson Reuters Foundation . \".
But with the first people comingever solar-powered mini-
The power grid of Bwisya was initiated by JUMEME, a government-backed rural power supply company with enough energy to run his power
The hungry business no longer requires expensive and heavily polluted generators.
In fact, cheaper electricity means he can expand the company.
\"Solar energy is a blessing for us because we can now serve more customers faster and more efficiently,\" he said . \".
\"I don\'t spend a penny on diesel.
My motor works very effectively using solar energy.
As solar costs fall sharply, solar energy is increasingly being used in industry and commerce, and experts say a big step forward in places like Tanzania from simply providing lighting and basic electricity.
Nyakalege now uses solar energy to operate his three milling machines at the same time, for example.
He hired three people to help him, and his customer base reached 600 people per day.
As a result, his income has also increased, averaging less than 100,000 shillings a day (about $45)
400,000 shillings up to now
He said he is now considering getting bank loans to expand his business.
Until recently, processing grain in Ukara was an expensive activity as the island was not connected to the grid.
Those who can\'t afford dieselpowered grain-
The milling service often has to grind their main food by hand-cassava and corn
Bwisya\'s solar system is part of a project to provide reliable and affordable electricity to nearly 2,000 households and more than 200 businesses on Ukara in order to increase opportunities to earn income.
This is the first of 30 such systems JUMEME plans to install in the next two years.
Officials at the company say they expect to provide electricity to about 100,000 people.
The company has bigger plans for a longer period of time. They said it was semester.
\"Our goal is to build 300 systems in rural Tanzania by 2022 to serve up to 1 million people, making JUMEME the largest mini
\"China\'s grid operators,\" said Thadeus Mkamwa, one of the company\'s directors . \".
The project was co-funded by the European Union and private investors with the political support of the Tanzanian government, with a total budget of £ 38.
4 billion shillings ($17. 6 million), Mkwama said. PRE-
Paid solar power company in Bwisya, the largest village on Ukara, 250 customers will be connected by 60-kilowatt (KW)
Solar photovoltaic system and 240-
Hour battery pack.
Mkamwa said the system will be expanded in the second half of this year to connect other villages on the island.
Installation fees for individual homes and businesses are reimbursed by the customer in installments. Consumers pre-
Pay for their electricity, the cost of each device, depending on the number of electrical equipment they use.
JUMEME is working with ngo gvep International to train people on Ukara to use electricity for commercial purposes such as the production of wood and metal crafts.
The 30-year-old Hamisi Bujeje, who helped his father build canoes and dhow from an early age, dreamed of owning a large woodworking workshop.
But he said that so far, he has been struggling to make profits in the business he started in 2011.
\"My business has not been doing very well because of lack of power.
I took on the huge operating costs.
I used to travel 29 km (18 miles)
\"Go to the nearest South West Ao Island to power up and repair some items,\" said boujjie . \".
But in addition to cheaper solar energy, he has access to new woodworking equipment, business guidance from GVEP, and loan plans from JUMEME to entrepreneurs.
\"I look forward to expanding my business and realizing my dream in the furniture industry,\" Bujeje said . \".
Domestic customers of the new solar power supply are also satisfied with the change.
Kulwa Mwenguo, a Ukara resident, said: \"The system is very good and very helpful. I can turn off the lights, charge my phone and listen to the radio.
Mwenguo said he paid 3,800 shillings. $1. 70)
Less than twice a week-
He used to spend money on kerosene. (
Kizito Makoye reports;
Editor of James Bell and Laurie Goring :;
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