Nexus Green investing US$7m in a solar products plant in Matugga

Rikki Verma

Kampala, Uganda | JULIUS BUSINGE | Over the years, Nexus Green has cemented its operations in the solar system business in Uganda and plans to unveil a big project in the coming few months. Julius Businge spoke to CEO Rikki Verma about the company’s milestones.

Tell us about Nexus Green?

At Nexus Green, we are passionate about harnessing the power of the sun to provide sustainable and innovative energy solutions. We pride ourselves on being a comprehensive turnkey solution provider, specializing in a diverse range of solar solutions that address various energy needs.

Our journey began officially in 2015 when we embarked on a mission to revolutionize the energy landscape. It was not until 2017 that we unveiled our first ground-breaking project, which took place at the iconic Kololo Ceremonial Grounds. This project marked a significant milestone in our company’s history, as it demonstrated our commitment to delivering tangible results through solar energy solutions.

Through our solar installations at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds, we achieved something remarkable – we managed to reduce their energy consumption bills by a staggering 80%. This achievement underscores the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of our solar solutions. It is a testament to our dedication to not only providing clean energy but also helping our clients make substantial savings in the process.

One aspect that sets us apart is our strong partnership with the government. We view the government as an invaluable ally in our mission to promote renewable energy adoption and sustainability in the region. Our collaborative efforts with government entities have been instrumental in driving positive change and expanding the reach of our solar solutions.

Nexus Green is not just a company; we are a driving force in the renewable energy sector.

What drives your core business vision?

As a company, we aim to create a world where economic progress harmonizes with environmental stewardship. By championing renewable energy solutions, advocating for eco-friendly practices, and nurturing a culture of environmental responsibility, we strive to pave the way for a sustainable and thriving planet which is in line with the government of Uganda’s development plan. As a full turnkey solution provider, Nexus Green handles every aspect of a solar project from start to finish. Our services typically include site assessment, system design, equipment procurement, installation, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance and support. We ensure a seamless transition to solar energy by taking care of all the necessary components, including engineering, permits, project management, and system monitoring.

How feasible is solar-powered water irrigation?

Solar-powered water irrigation utilizes solar panels to harness energy from the sun, which powers water pumps or irrigation systems. The solar energy is converted into electricity, eliminating the need for grid electricity or fuel-powered generators. The benefits include reduced operating costs, environmental sustainability, independence from the power grid, and reliable water supply for agricultural or landscaping purposes.

Related to the above question, give an update on your solar-powered water irrigation project with the government.

Nexus Green Limited is constructing 687 solar-powered water irrigation sites in the Northern and Eastern parts of Uganda by the end of 2023 as part of the Government of Uganda-funded Design, Supply, and Installation of Solar Powered Water Supply and Irrigation Systems Project. We raised 101 million euros for this purpose on behalf of the government aimed at enhancing agricultural productivity, prosperity, and the social life of over 25,000 Ugandans in water-stressed districts in the country. The project is owned by the Ministry of Water and Environment – our client – and financed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and Development. By the end of 2024, we expect to have handed over all the 687 solar-powered water irrigation sites in Uganda and handed over the project to the Government of Uganda by the end of 2024.

Still on this project, what tangible benefits are Ugandan farmers going to have?

Amazing. This project will increase the number of productive seasons from two to four seasons in a year. Having constantly powered irrigation systems will guarantee Shs5m worth of revenue per acre, per season resulting in Shs4.6 trillion which is over 3% of the country’s GDP year in and year out. The project is set to benefit at least 3,000 smallholder farmers. An average of six farmers on a 12-acre site will benefit from each solar-powered irrigation site, and on the water supply side, at least 5,000 people in rural areas will get access to clean drinking and cooking water while an average of 15,000 people will gain access to urban water supply systems. After this project, urban dwellers in the target districts are expected to see a 60% reduction in water tariffs on 220 urban water supply schemes, in addition to the benefits of green energy and carbon footprint reduction. We expect at least 2.6 million people to see a reduction and prevention of common chronic sicknesses leading to improved health and standard of living within the beneficiary communities.

What makes Nexus Green unique?

We at Nexus Green take considerable pride in our strategic partnerships with globally respected suppliers and companies. These partnerships are the cornerstone of our dedication to delivering exceptional quality and service to our customers. By aligning ourselves with industry leaders, we ensure that every product and service we offer meets the highest international standards.

One of the key differentiators of Nexus Green is our diverse product range, each backed by robust warranties from the manufacturer. Our solar modules, for instance, come with an impressive 25-year performance guarantee and warranty, underscoring our confidence in their durability and reliability. Similarly, our inverters are covered by a solid 5-year warranty, providing our customers with peace of mind and assurance in the longevity of their investments.

Nexus Green is committed to fostering economic growth and empowerment within the communities we serve. We are proud to say that 60% of our workforce comprises talented and dedicated women, a testament to our commitment to gender equality. Beyond our workforce, we are also investing significantly in initiatives that extend beyond business boundaries. We are dedicated to supporting education, technology, and various community development projects.

Nexus Green’s uniqueness lies in our dedication to quality, our diverse product range with robust warranties, our customer-centric approach, our commitment to gender diversity, and our broader contributions to society. We do not just provide solar solutions; we provide a commitment to excellence and a vision for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

 Tell us about your upcoming solar factory in Matugga.  

Our upcoming solar factory in Matugga, Uganda, is a significant milestone for us at Nexus Green. We are making a substantial investment of US$7 million to establish this state-of-the-art solar products plant, which will have a profound impact on the renewable energy landscape in East Africa.

The primary objective of this venture is to enhance accessibility to high-quality solar solutions within the region. Our plant in Matugga will be the first of its kind in East Africa, offering a comprehensive range of solar products, including solar panels, inverters, batteries, and related equipment, all manufactured directly in Uganda.

The significance of this development cannot be understated. By producing solar components locally, we are not only contributing to the growth of the renewable energy sector but also creating opportunities for job creation and economic empowerment within the local community.

We are committed to ensuring that the plant is operational within a span of just seven months, underscoring our dedication to expeditiously meeting the energy needs of East Africa. To guarantee the highest quality and reliability of our solar products, we have partnered with trusted suppliers in Italy, renowned for their excellence in manufacturing machinery for the solar industry.

Our vision for this solar factory goes beyond mere production. We envision it as a hub for innovation, research, and development in renewable energy solutions. Our team is excited about the potential this facility holds in driving technological advancements in the field of solar energy and in addressing the region’s growing energy demands.

The Nexus Green solar factory in Matugga, Uganda, represents a significant step towards our commitment to sustainable energy solutions for East Africa. It not only reflects our dedication to local manufacturing and job creation but also underscores our commitment to providing affordable and reliable solar products to the people of East Africa. We are confident that this investment will serve its intended purpose and contribute to the broader goal of a greener and more sustainable future for the region.

What is your call to young entrepreneurs?

I would like to share a piece of advice that I believe is critical for an entrepreneur’s journey. In today’s dynamic and ever-changing world, it is imperative for the next generation of entrepreneurs to not only seek success but also to be mindful of the shifting global landscape and environmental challenges.

My suggestion is this to find your niche within the sectors you are passionate about and where you see opportunities. By doing so, you can focus your energy and resources on becoming an expert in that specific area. This expertise not only sets you apart from the competition but also allows you to better serve your clients. In a world where specialization is increasingly valued, this approach can be a significant change for your entrepreneurial endeavours.

I want to emphasize that success should not be measured solely in monetary terms. As young entrepreneurs, you have the unique opportunity to be part of a generation that can drive positive change for the future.

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