Solar energy project to change Kishapu fortunes

Solar energy is not only meant for lighting homes, instead, it can improve other economic activities, especially agriculture. PHOTO |COURTESY

Summary

  • According to the minister, the project will include increasing megawatts in the national grid that will distribute the energy to Simiyu and Mwanza regions.

Shinyanga. Energy minister January Makamba has explained how the solar power project that will generate 150 megawatts will change the image and feature of Kishapu District in Shinyanga Region.

According to the minister, the project will include increasing megawatts in the national grid that will distribute the energy to Simiyu and Mwanza regions.

Mr Makamba said the solar electricity project will be executed together with the implementation of various social projects including schools, dispensaries, water and electricity projects in the neighborhoods so as to easily access and bring services closer to the residents of Kishapu.

The minister made the statement on Tuesday when addressing residents of Ngunga Village in the district about the area, where the project will be implemented.

In the Ngunga village meeting, Mr Makamba assured all those who have given their land to pave the way for the process that they will be paid their compensations.

According to the minister, the first phase of the project will cost Sh101.66 billion while Sh1.29 will be allocated by the Government of Tanzania and AFD Bank of France for construction and payment of compensations to the residents who paved the way for the project. He said that a large percentage of current electricity is being produced by using water and gas, but, he added, for the first time in the history of Tanzania, solar electricity will be fed into the national grid.

“Solar electricity will be cheaper because you will only put its components in the sun and then you go to the battery to generate electricity. Kishapu is the place that will feed solar electricity into our national grid for the first time, which has now become famous in the world,” said Mr Makamba.

“I have come here as I promised your MP (Boniphace Butondo) that this project will be real as in the past it would have been let’s wait and see, we have plans and we are making follow-ups. These were the past promises. So, the project will now be implemented for two reasons.

“First, those who are sponsoring us have officially approved the release of the funds for this project. In the past, it was ‘we are still asking for funds, we are making follow-ups, we are waiting’. “But when became the minister, I tried to find for the relevant parties including the board of AFD of France and they approved the project and they have already stamped it,” said Mr Makamba.

He said another reason is that the Government has already started the process of finding the right bidder to start the work after a month that bidder will be announced to start the work.

“If you start the process of finding a contractor that means there is certainty there, because you cannot make an announcement and find a contractor without having the certainty of construction. The process of finding a construction contractor you must have sufficient funds,” he said. The acting manager of projects, transportation and distribution of Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), Frank Mashalo, said the process of the first phase of the project that will generate 50 megawatts of electricity will start in November, this year, and will be completed in December next year.

Tanesco’s Compensation Manager, Dr Richard Muyungi, said the work would not start without the completion of the payment of compensations to those residents who paved the way for the project, allaying worries to them that the funds for their compensations were available. “Four weeks ago, a team of experts conducted a review of verifications for those residents, who deserve to be paid compensations. Now we are in the stage of preparing payments,” said Dr Muyungi.

Shinyanga Regional Commissioner Sophia Mjema thanked the Government for starting to implement the project, saying that the residents waited for so long and that the project will be beneficial for the region and the nation as a whole.

The councilor of Taraga, where the project will be implemented, Mr Richard Dominic, said the project was waited for a long time after the residents had given up their areas since 2016 when they announced about the process.

He said the Government’s move to start implementing the project has given the residents of Kishapu great hopes.