Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tanzania: Kigoma Solar Power Project Takes Off

Rex Energy, a subsidiary of a Holding company - Rex Investment Ltd, has started to implement the long awaited solar project in Kigoma region financed by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a US-based development agency.

The initial installation of solar systems has already been successfully implemented in various sites in Kigoma over the last few weeks. These sites include a secondary school and dispensary in Kiganza, Vitale Health Center and Msimba Village Market all in Kigoma (Rural) District.

This solar project - the largest of its kind in Tanzania's history, is carried out through a joint effort between Rex Investment Ltd and Camco International from the UK. In this project Rex handles the technical aspect of the project - designing, supply and installation of a wide range of solar systems whereas Camco is responsible with training, marketing and raising public awareness on the use of solar energy for the targeted consumers.

The successful installation of solar systems in these various sites marks an important stage in this project which is essentially aimed to facilitate social-economic development through the use of renewable and alternative power solutions in a region that is not yet connected to the national grid.

The Kigoma urban area is served by Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) using diesel generators. The energy situation is worse in rural areas where residents are used to life without electricity. The energy problem in Kigoma was initially dependent on power from Malagarasi Hydropower Project before it was scrapped-off due to negative environmental impacts.

However, the national grid might eventually be extended to Kigoma from Shinyanga region but this might take a long time given budget constraints. That being said, in the meantime, there is a huge potential for the use of solar power to this region and Rex Energy is taking an active role in making that happen through this project funded by the US government.

In a statement by the US Embassy in Dar es Salaam dated August 21, 2012 and made available to the local media, Karl Fickenscher, the Millennium Challenge Corporation Resident Country Director states that this project "calls for more than the delivery and installation of modern solar PV technology." Fickenscher adds that "The goal of the program is to develop all of the elements necessary for a successful solar PV economy in Kigoma."

The Kigoma Solar Project will provide power for households, businesses, government facilities and so forth that primarily rely on small diesel generators. When the project is completed by next year, the direct beneficiaries will include 45 secondary schools, 120 dispensaries, 10 health centers, 25 village market centers and 60 battery-charging beach management units (BMUs) along Lake Tanganyika to be used to power LED lights.

Currently, fishermen use kerosene lanterns at night to attract fish but the kerosene used is costly and harmful to the environment. In terms of job creation, this project will provide employment opportunities (directly or indirectly) to many people throughout Kigoma which, in turn, will help increase the region's Gross Domestic Products (GDP) per capita which is currently Tsh. 206,356 - one of the lowest in the country.

Moreover, Kigoma suffers from persistent refugee problems due to ongoing conflict in neighboring countries. Rex distinguishes itself as the leading solar power provider in Tanzania and one of the best in the East African region because it values quality. It imports products from the most reputable and reliable manufacturers of solar systems in the world.

The products Rex Imports are of highest quality and approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) while at the same time meeting local quality and technical specifications. The Kigoma Project is just one out of many projects Rex has undertaken, although this one is of higher magnitude and scale. Rex has played a key role over the last 12 years contributing to government's effort to make alternative power such as solar available to more people.

Rex has done so by installing solar systems for individuals, private businesses, government institutions, religious and charitable organizations, international organizations etc. Some of the major projects done by Rex include the installation of solar systems for Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences in Dar es Salaam, NSSF field offices, Selous Game Reserve, Mandela University in Arusha, Dar es Salaam Institute of Tourism, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) field offices and many more.

In addition to these projects, it supplies solar products to dealer networks, shops and individuals around the country. Some of these products include solar lanterns, gel deep cycle batteries, inverters, solar panels, solar charge controllers.Rex designs, supplies and installs solar systems by customizing them to meet the individual needs of its clients.

The company has a qualified team of in-house technicians and engineers, sales, customer service and managers all dedicated to provide services of the highest quality. It installs a wide range of solar systems for its clients. These systems include solar water heaters, solar street lights, regular lighting and back-up systems for households, corporate clients, government institutions, international organizations, NGOs and the list goes on.


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