How Crowdlending for Solar Power is Empowering Local Communities in Uganda to Drive the Energy Transition

Press Release by GoParity

With a highly unreliable (or nonexistent in some regions) national power grid in Uganda, organizations rely on diesel generators to power appliances — a noisy, polluting and expensive solution, whose alternative is simply not to have access to electricity.

GoParity, a Portuguese fintech that helps finance sustainable projects through crowdlending, has partnered up with SolarPipo Group, a one-stop-shop for solar energy projects in Uganda, to raise funds for dairy cooperatives in the country to go solar.

So far, they have raised more than 200.000€ for four dairy cooperatives. In a country where solar energy goes beyond the decarbonization of the economy, the two companies have positively impacted more than 10.000 people

Baitambogwe Dairy Cooperative
Baitambogwe Dairy Cooperative
Solar Panels
Baitambogwe Dairy Cooperative

Renewable energy for social and economic impact in Uganda

20-40% of all milk production in Uganda is wasted due to a lack of timely and reliable refrigeration. Solar power technologies can provide consistent electricity for cold storage of milk in areas with no or unreliable energy access, significantly impacting both the milk producers and the surrounding population (as explained in this video filmed by SolarPipo in Uganda).

So far, GoParity‘s community of impact investors has lent 220.000€ to install solar panels in four dairy cooperatives in Uganda. The projects, developed in the country by SolarPipo, aim to replace diesel generators for solar power plants (reducing diesel consumption to a mere backup if ever needed) and the acquisition of battery racks. Every year, these solar power plants produce more than 375 MWh of clean energy. In addition to ensuring access to clean energy in a country where electricity is mostly produced using coal and diesel generators, these projects will reduce the cost of cooling milk, by making energy more affordable for dairy farmers and, at the same time, support the creation and maintenance of more than 4000 jobs (this number includes direct and indirect jobs at the farms, shops, and processing plants) as a result of the increase in the volume of milk and, in the long term, the microprocessing of milk to make products like yoghurt .

Kasolwe Dairy Cooperative
Kasolwe Dairy Cooperative

“Our vision at GoParity is of a renewable and decentralized energy system, in which energy is accessible and affordable to all and used in the most efficient manner, involving local communities in this change. This partnership with SolarPipo is the perfect materialization of this.” says Nuno Brito Jorge, CEO of GoParity.

By allowing the cooperatives to run on clean energy only, and eliminating the diesel consumption (a reduction of 24.025 litres/year) 64.15 tons of CO2 emissions are being avoided every year. On average, it takes 1.111 adult trees to absorb this amount of CO2 every year.

solar panels encircled by fencing
Kyenturegye Dairy Cooperative
group of workers before solar panels
Kyenturegye Dairy Cooperative

To this day, GoParity and SolarPipo have impacted around 10.800 people in Uganda by funding the Kasolwe Cooperative, the Kyenturegye Cooperative, the Baitambogwe Cooperative and the Buyende Cooperative, and until the end of the year are planning to finance a total of seven cooperatives, reaching a global amount of 400.000€ invested in the country. Brito Jorge adds “this is a great example of how we can match great impact, competitive financing and interesting returns for all the parties involved”

A reliable energy system has had a trickle-down impact in these communities, improving the lives of the population served by the cooperatives in many ways: by generating direct and indirect jobs; by tackling malnutrition (as a result of a stable supply of milk); through bigger access to education (once parents are better equipped to pay for school fees); through better and safer working conditions (external safety lights installed around the power plants).

SolarPipo Group, with over eight years of experience in the renewable energy sector is specialized in solar projects for dairy producers. The company acts as an installer and investor, easing the process of electrification of dairy cooperatives in Uganda using solar power. GoParity, a crowdlending financing platform that funds social and environmental impact projects using its community of investors, has financed more than 6 million euros for more than 100 sustainability projects, attracting more than 12,500 users.