In St. Balikuddembe Market, Kampala, vendors like Ssemwogerere Andrew are benefitting from LED lighting that has extended their working hours into the night. Previously, the market faced early closures, but the installation of LED lights has had a significant impact on the vendors’ ability to make sales during nighttime hours.
Popularly known as Owino Market, it is Uganda’s largest market, and it is one of the 16 public markets that the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) recently took over as a part of a presidential directive to replace old market leadership. This transition included the appointment of 36 new administrators under the KCCA.
As part of the market’s rehabilitation plan, the KCCA initiated the installation of solar lighting and standalone street lights. This project, aimed at supporting local businesses and ensuring security for both vendors and customers, was funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in collaboration with KCCA.
Simon Kasyate, the KCCA spokesperson, explained that they partnered with various LED organizations to install solar-powered lights. Owino Market now operates on uninterrupted electricity, eliminating concerns about security and enabling vendors to extend their working hours. This initiative is expected to boost economic and retail activities for the over 50,000 local businesses and 30,000 daily visitors to the market.
The project was commissioned and designed by Aptech Africa, which installed five hybrid solar systems and twenty-three standalone streetlights. These systems are equipped with 14.25kWp of solar panels and 50kWh of lithium-ion batteries, totaling 71.25kWp and 250kWh. Each system is integrated with the main grid, utilizing Deye inverter technology, which allows additional power sources like generators to be connected when needed. This uninterrupted electricity supply has significantly improved security within the market.
The benefits of the lighting initiative extend to both vendors and customers. Vendors can work extended hours, and customers can now see products clearly during nighttime shopping. The improved lighting also deters theft, making the market a safer place. In addition to enhancing security, the 24-hour lighting allows for nighttime sanitation, ensuring the cleanliness and hygiene of the market.