Earlier this year fundraising had stalled and we did not have enough funds to complete the hydro project. The trustees had to consider alternative ways of achieving the original aim of the project, which was to provide Kagando Hospital with reliable, affordable electricity to ensure patient safety, protection of electrical equipment from voltage fluctuations and outages and to reduce Hospital power costs.

When the hydro scheme was planned eight years ago, solar power was inadequately developed in Uganda. Since then there have been significant steps forward and there are now many successful solar schemes there. The steering group sought advice from specialists both in the UK and in Uganda.

In July the Board of KHPL unanimously agreed to change direction from a hydroelectric scheme to solar. It was also agreed to replace the old standby generator, and to update the switch over system to ensure that there would be an almost instantaneous switch over to the new generator in the (regular!) event of grid power failure. This new generator has now been installed with funds from FoK and is already providing much more reliable power when the grid goes down. As a bonus it is very much quieter and more fuel efficient than the old one.

FoK now has the budget to build a grid connected daytime-only solar scheme to provide power to all the Hospital buildings. Night-time power will continue to come from the grid. At a later date it would be possible to provide battery storage if it was considered cost effective. The new solar scheme will cost around £180k and will immediately provide savings for the Hospital of at least £15k/yr. The solar scheme will be run directly by the hospital management team.

The final design is being worked on and we have identified a number of local contractors/installers who have the necessary experience to build a top quality solar scheme. The construction will be supervised by a qualified solar engineer and should be completed by mid 2024.

We are now much closer to achieving an appropriate new power scheme. It has been a long and complicated road, and we are grateful to all the FoK supporters who have given so generously. When the new scheme is in place it will give the Hospital the double benefit of a reliable power supply and of considerable cost savings, which should increase in years to come.

Peter Cheshire. November 2023