The switch to solar energy will allow the cooperative to run on clean energy only, eliminating the diesel consumption – a reduction of 3,000 liters a year that will avoid the emission of 19.3 tons of CO2 a year.
An estimated 37% of Uganda’s population lives under the poverty threshold of US$1.90 a day. Nevertheless, it is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. This project will improve the living conditions of the population served by the cooperative.
Better working conditions: by increasing the lighting around the plant with external safety lights, the cooperative members will have longer operation hours especially loading milk to the buyers’ trucks during late evenings. The installer has already installed 2 street lighting modules at the facility at no extra cost.
Greater financial autonomy: with one farm having about 50 farmers, it is estimated that 3,500 small farmers will be positively affected by this project. The current income earned by milk producers is not enough to give them financial autonomy, which will be obtained with a better energy supply that will decrease the cooperative's costs.
More gender equality: the cooperative has 12 women, two of them in the leadership of the council who will benefit from training.
Job generation: by building reliable and sustainable infrastructure, this project will motivate more farmers to take up lucrative dairy businesses in Uganda, hence creating direct and indirect jobs (estimates point to over 1,200). Technical jobs will also be created in the solar sector to trained technicians and local people who will be trained to operate and maintain the solar plants.
Estimates point to 10% of all milk production in Kyenturegye being wasted due to lack of timely cooling. Solar cooling technologies can provide consistent cold storage for areas with no or unreliable energy access, offering significant impact potential.
With more than 8 years of experience in the renewable energy sector, the SolarPipo group is a Dutch company aiming to unburden the processes of acquiring and installing solar systems for cooling, water pumps, and other productive uses of dairy cooperatives in Uganda.
The funds raised through this campaign will be used to finance a solar energy project at the Kyenturegye Katojjo Dairy Farmers Cooperative Society in Kazo District, Western Uganda. The Kyenturegye Cooperative was founded in early 2014 with only 40 members, which owned in total around 750 cows. Currently, it has 64 members, each with over 100 dairy cows and it provides services to 200 farmers, who despite not being members enjoy the umbrella and security provided by the cooperative, which helps them sell the milk to the same bulk buyers at a fair price.
The Cooperative’s board members are former and retired military officers with an average age of 45 years. They mostly inherited the farms from their parents and have been involved in dairy farming for most of their life. Its chairman helped the Cooperative acquire the land, build the milk cooler site, install borehole water, acquire a 3,000-litre milk cooler and a diesel generator (20KVA).
The funds raised through this campaign will be used to replace a diesel generator for a 11,88kWh solar power plant (reducing diesel consumption to zero) and the acquisition of a battery rack (67,2 kWh). By recurring to clean energy, the current cost of cooling the milk will decrease, making the energy more affordable to cooperative milk producers.
P&E Ltd. is a Ugandan subsidiary of the project promoter, SolarPipo Finance B.V. The company will receive a fee to install the equipment and ensure the project funding. It will also provide services throughout the project’s lifetime (5 years): customer support, training, maintenance, technical assistance and optimization of the equipment usage.
The average cooperative in Uganda would need an investment of € 75.000 (for equipment and loan costs) for such a project. This loan, in Ugandan Shillings (UGX), will be paid back in 5 years at a cost of € 1,867 a month, a very acceptable price for the farmers, given their current expenditure on diesel and maintenance.
The Cooperative has currently a monthly gross profit of € 1,875 with diesel costs representing 34% of this amount (€ 637). After a few months of stable PV supply, the Cooperative will raise some money from selling the diesel generators.
All combined, the farmers have over 7,000 cows and, on average, a little over 1,000 are actively producing milk at any given time. A dairy cow produces on average 5 litters of milk per day meaning that more than 3,000 to 5,000 litters can be collected in a day, depending on the season. The Cooperative collects the milk from all its members, as well as some non-members and it provides collective marketing services. Since its cooler capacity is limited to 3,000 litres, the rest is usually sold to small distributors right at the farms.