Solar mapping Campaign

Regional Assistance - Solar Measurement Campaign in Eastern Africa Project

This Project was initiated by the World Bank (WB) in early 2017 to support some of the member countries of the Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP) in carrying out renewable energy resource assessment and mapping, with funding from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). The initial focus is on solar mapping with an intention to cover up to seven countries. However, the project is implemented in phases with the first phase covering three EAPP member countries, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda.

The project involves planning, commissioning, implementation, and decommissioning of a high-quality solar measurement campaign at eight sites, in Kenya (3 sites), Tanzania (3) sites and one which exists already), and Uganda (2 sites). The project also covers the operation and maintenance (O&M) cost of the existing solar measurement station installed at the University of Dare s Salaam in Tanzania for the duration of the assignment. Ensuring strong local involvement and capacity building at all stages of the measurement campaign is also one of the main components of the project..

Project Objectives

The solar measurement campaign in Eastern Africa project has three main objectives:

  • To generate high quality irradiance data at sites/zones of interest for utility-scale solar power development, thereby reducing the resource risk to developers (and therefore their bids for provided power output) and removing the need for each developer to commission their own solar measurement station;
  • To provide meteorological data for the purposes of improving and validating solar resource models, thereby improving the estimates of solar resource potential for the whole region;
  • To increase the awareness of solar resource potential, and solar power, within EAPP and its member countries and utility companies, and build capacity in the operation and maintenance of solar measurement equipment.

What has been done

A contract for the provision of consulting services for implementing a solar measurement campaign in East Africa for Phase 1 – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda was awarded to GeoSUN Africa (Pty) Limited on April 04, 2018, and the consultant commenced the project on 21st May 2018. According to the signed contract, among other things, the consultant is required to  provide two years of high quality, ‘bankable’ meteorological data relevant to solar resource assessment and project development, including upload to an ‘open data platform for public dissemination;

A consultation workshop was organized and held in Zanzibar, Tanzania on 19th July 2018. The workshop brought together key stakeholders from each beneficiary country (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). The stakeholders in attendance were from, KenGen, TANESCO and UTCL. Others were from ministries of energy and meteorological agencies of the three beneficiary countries. The workshop, among other things, discussed the implementation plan of the project in the beneficiaries’ countries and the next steps.

The consultation workshop was followed by individual consultation meetings in the project countries. During the meetings, the vendor together with stakeholders in each country identified several candidate sites to be visited and the optimal sites to be selected for hosting the solar measurement equipment. The selection of suitable sites was based on the site visit report, beneficiary country preferences, and input from the Word Bank (the funder). In addition, the site must be potential for utility-scale solar power development, or that have strong potential for future development based on a set of objective criteria. The consultant also visited the existing Tier1 station located at the University of Dar es Salaam to assess its condition;

  • The consultants compiled site selection reports in which he recommended suitable sites for installation of solar measurement equipment for each country. The reports were shared with stakeholders for inputs and comments and finally approved by the World Bank. Thereafter, the consultants started mobilizing for equipment installation;
  • During the period from November 2019 – January 2020, eight solar measurement equipments were installed and commissioned in the three countries as follows:-
  • Kenya, the weather station equipment were installed on three sites, namely, Narok, Homa Bay and Laisamis,
  • Tanzania installations were done at Dodoma and Shinyanga sites in Tanzania and at Makunduchi in Tanzania Islands – Zanzibar;
  • Uganda – weather station equipment were installed at at Wadelai and Soroti sites.

The installed solar measurement and meteorological stations in all the three beneficiary countries are running well and data are being reordered daily (per minute and per hour) and transferred to the vendor’s (GeoSUN) central data repository.  EAPP and the World Bank are monitoring data collection through the web portals for the live stations. The collected irradiance data are transferred monthly to the World Bank in both raw and quality controlled formats.

The next Steps

A website (land page) that will host all the data gathered in real-time to make the data publicly available is being developed by ESMAP. Once the website is ready, the main stakeholders in the three beneficiary countries (Power utilities, Ministries responsible for energy, and Metrological Agencies) will put a link on their respective websites (maybe under renewable energy) to direct prospective investors and other stakeholders to the data.

The EAPP will also put a link on this/its website.Decommissioning of the stations at the end of the measurement campaign (early 2022). At the end of the project, the host utilities may decide to continue with the solar measurement campaign under separate arrangements

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