Energy Minister Nankabirwa Commissions New UGX12.5 Billion Solar Project at MRC/UVRI/LSHTD to Advance Medical Research

Energy Minister Nankabirwa Commissions New UGX12.5 Billion Solar Project at MRC/UVRI/LSHTD to Advance Medical Research
Representative of the Energy Minister Hon Ruth Nankabirwa with Director UVRI dr Pontiano Kaleebu unveiling the new solar plant

The Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa has commissioned a new solar project in Entebbe at the home of Uganda Virus Research Institute (UVRI) together with Medical Research Council Uganda (MRC) and the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) Uganda Chapter -MRC/UVRI/LSHTD aimed at enhancing medical research in Uganda and reducing the cost of power at the facility while contributing to the global call of environmental conservation.

During the inauguration ceremony held at the facility in Entebbe on Tuesday 27th February 2024, the representative of the Minister, Ms Elizabeth Kaijuka while applauding the institute for the renewable energy initiative, highlighted that as the country diverse energy mix, here is a need to promote solar PV systems along side other energy sources in a bit to bring down the cost of power to support institutes such as UVRI to enable them carry out medical research at a less cost.

“In pursuit of sustainable research, there is a need to diversify the energy mix through the promotion of solar systems so that institutes like UVRI can advance medical research and champion for others to follow suit” she said

She said that despite being the least consumed in the country at 5%, solar energy is now gaining ground among users as the government continues to create more demand through more industries, institute among other productive uses.

“The investment in solar energy not only contributes to Uganda Vision 2040's vision of a transformed, industrialized nation but also aligns with global efforts to combat climate change” she added

Group photo after ccommissioning the solar project

The Director MCR/UVRI/LSHTM  Prof. Pontiano Kaleebu expresses gratitude to the partners who have supported the installation of the solar unit at the institute which he said will strengthen the medical research at the facility especially with storage of retrigged equipment and medical units, computer facilities among others.  

“Solar investment is cost-effective, renewable, and good for environment conservation. Relying only on hydro has proved to be expensive. The research institute uses a lot of power for big equipment, storage, and computer facilities” he said

He added “The introduction of solar power contributes to additional clean and affordable energy sources. We expect to have 50% reduction on the grid consumption which will free up funds for research”

The Director explained that the Solar project with support from The Medical Research Command of the UK cost over ₤2.5 Million equivalent to UGX 12,463,639,525. Producing at a rate of 607KWP.

Dr Matt Lee

Dr. Matt Lee Chief Operating Office at the London School of Health and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) said over time they have been working with synergies with research institutes especially in public health projects to support sustainable research through laboratory-based research

"We additionally practically divulge our commitment to environmental sustainability, we desire to be proactive leaders and champions of a sustained future" he said