In Summary

public misconceptions about solar as explained by Phillip Walusimbi, Head of projects and field service at Davis & Shirtliff, a regional supplier of solar products among other services

The question of whether solar is right for you depends on two main considerations; your current bill and access to the national grid.
How much are you paying Umeme monthly? If your bill is still manageable then stick to that but if it is out of hand, then you could consider installing solar panels.

Then of course there are homes in remote areas that are not yet on the national power grid, then solar power becomes the obvious choice.

Nicholas Kakwenza a resident of Kiira, says that he was forced to look around for other energy options because his monthly electricity bill was going through the roof. “Every other month I would expect to be disconnected for failure to pay my bill on time and as you know that comes with its own penalties which would bump up the bill. It was a viscous cycle until a friend gave me an idea of installing solar,” Kakwenza says.

From his over Shs 100,000 monthly bill, Kakwenza pays just Shs 20,000 to Umeme. He uses Umeme for ironing and fridge the rest is powered by solar.

So if he has proven that it works, why doesn’t Kakwenza go all in and say good bye to Umeme?

The answer lies in the general
public misconceptions about solar as explained by Phillip Walusimbi, Head of projects and field service at Davis & Shirtliff, a regional supplier of solar products among other services.

“There are several misconceptions about adopting solar power as an alternative power source within a home. One is the amount of money they think it costs and the other is its capacity,” says Walusimbi.

While it is true that the initial cost might be a bit heavy, it makes more economic sense in the long run. “This is a one time expenditure that serves cost free for the next thirty years or so. And about its effectiveness, people should feel comfortable that the technology itself has been proven, as a reliable, and a clean energy source,” he adds.

The level of power available is dependent upon the amount of panels installed. Just like no two homes use power the same way so there is no one size fits all installation.

It is possible to install enough solar panels on your roof so your home is completely powered by solar energy meaning that your bill will be zero.

It is also possible to have both solar and Umeme at the same time “using the same wiring system,” adds Walusimbi
“An average home can manage on a solar system of Shs 1.5m if it is not used for the fridge and ironing. If those two are inclusive then the cost goes to Shs7m,” says Brian Sewalu the MD Divine solar world.

“The vast majority of residential installations are now done because people are realising that solar is affordable,” he adds.

How long installation takes
Walusimbi assures homeowners that as installers have gained more experience, they have become much more efficient at mounting panels. Installations that used to take days now can be done in hours.

He further cautions that installing a solar electricity system is not a do-it-yourself project. “You will need a licensed electrician or certified solar installer because the engineering of the installation is important to the functionality of your system.
A very high quality system might be installed on a partially-shaded area which will likely result in poor electricity production,” he says.

Other factors to think about when you are picking out a system include the strength and available space on your roof for the solar panels.

You should also consider your location, the amount of sunlight your home receives and the average temperatures for your home.
But the first and most important step is to make the decision to go solar and get in touch with a trusted supplier.