Sweden finances Tanzania's rural solar power transformation

09:55, December 26, 2009      

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Tanzania has received over three billion Tanzanian shillings (about 2.2 million U.S. dollars)from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency to implement rural solar power project in the eastern African country, the local media reported on Friday.

After the inauguration of the project, Tanzania Assistant Commissioner of Energy and Minerals Hosea Mbise said that the project was aimed to remove impediments in the development of solar power sector in Tanzania as it is geared at ensuring that rural-based communities in Tanzania are supplied with reliable power.

Mbise named other impediments as high installation charges of the solar power facilities as well as low level of awareness amongst the people.

Limited numbers of technicians in solar power equipment installation and low participation of the private businesses in the investment were among of the major challenges facing the sector.

"This project is very important for people living in rural areas," Mbise said.

Since the project started in 2005, more than 150 businesspersons had been trained in business related to solar power investment, while about 152 technicians had been trained on better ways of connecting solar power and service provision after selling equipment to customers, according to Mbise.

He added that more efforts were being made to ensure that the training spread all-over the country so that villagers can enjoy power service.

For his part, project consultant Jeff Michael Felten said some customers have been failing to purchase equipment needed for solarpower installation.

"For instance, expenses to install solar power in the homes starts at 200,000 shillings (about 150 dollars) and goes up depending on the needs, though after installation life span for the facility is about 20 years," he observed.

Marketing Manager for Sollatek Power Control, Mrisho Ramadhani urged suppliers of solar power equipment to refrain from doubling the prices of the items, saying the move discouraged people to opt for the service.

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