High capacity generation technologies – including standalone systems and mini-grids- have struggled to scale in Uganda. One of the key challenges facing off-grid technology investment and development is low initial residential demand and slow residential demand growth. We believe that productive-use technologies – if properly targeted – have the potential to significantly and perhaps sufficiently supplement overall demand and enable the mini-grid business case. Further, in industrial regions without sufficient residential demand, standalone solar systems have the potential to boost productivity and lower costs.
The potential value of productive-use technologies is acknowledged by key players in the Ugandan market; however, there has not been a centralized, consolidated effort to describe the opportunity and assemble the relevant stakeholders across the permitting, licensing, development, servicing and investment sectors. We believe that by combining targeted research and analysis with stakeholder coordination we can meaningfully advance the productive use off-grid space, increasing industrial productivity and residential connectivity.
In 2017, UOMA released a report on productive use technology outlining the most promising technologies and use cases for Uganda. This research had not been done by others and has since been used as a reference for many programs and financiers looking to invest in the sector.
Since 2018, we are supporting several operators in Uganda to support pilots focused on productive use technology with the goal to disseminate findings and learnings across the space.