Case Study

Sustainable Energy Services for Kitobo Island


This demonstration project by Absolute Energy constructed a stand-alone solar PV with battery storage system on Kitobo Island in Uganda. The economy of this remote island in Lake Victoria is based on fishing and associated value chains, and the village had no prior electricity supply. The new mini-grid has a customised engineering design and cutting-edge components and is able to generate and distribute 24/7 electricity through low-voltage three-phase lines.

The developer faced some challenges during implementation, such as long licensing and authorisation procedures, as well as delays in supply shipments and customs for the batteries, but managed to complete the project successfully. The mini-grid now provides energy to over 90% of the village thanks to an affordable tariff rate, strong community inclusion and an active promotional campaign. The project has created local permanent jobs both directly (customer care officers, technicians, security staff) and indirectly, by fostering the productive use of energy among local entrepreneurs.

Marketing campaigns need to be adjusted to meet local expectations and not to exclude the poorest parts of the population. The strength of our marketing campaign was its

The project promoted a holistic socio-economic approach with the motto “our customers’ growth is our growth”. Activities were designed to empower local residents through business skills trainings and organised awareness campaigns. The project established an Energy Fund and promoted Business Savings and Loan Associations (BSLAs). The BSLA groups fostered an entrepreneurial mind-set within the mcommunity and supported start-up business efforts.

Just providing lighting is not enough; there is a need to drive productivity in order to move out of poverty.

The project’s technical and business models have resulted in a reliable electricity generation and distribution facility that is ready to meet the energy needs of the island forthe next 20 years.