Lucia Bakulumpagi-Wamala is the founder and CEO of Bakulu Power, a renewable energy company that designs, installs and operates systems for both residential and commercial clients in Uganda.
“We operate at the micro and macro level,” she told How We Made It In Africa. “At the micro level, we design systems for homes, hotel or manufacturing companies to help reduce their reliance on fuel or the grid, which is technically unreliable in our country. At the macro level, we develop mini grids and sell the electricity to the entire community per unit.”
Having been born in Kenya to Ugandan parents who fled during the Luwero War, she grew up mostly in Canada. The idea for her company first emerged during a trip to visit family in Uganda. Her cousin lived near a landfill, and as such, there was a lot of garbage on the streets. This sight sparked something in her, as it was something she was not used to seeing in Ottawa.
“When I noticed all the garbage, I became curious,” she said, as she wondered if the trash could have been used for something productive. “Something about all the garbage really struck me. That was how I started Bakulu Power.”
In the Buvuma district of central Uganda, Bakulu Power is playing a crucial role in establishing the area’s infrastructure by developing three solar mini-grids for its residents.
“Buvuma is the only district in Uganda that has no electricity,” Lucia explained to Design Indaba. “Because there is no electricity, other major infrastructure is also not there…No sanitation, no piped water, the high instances of HIV/Aids, no bank, there aren’t even any government schools there.
“It’s actually urban planning because there is so little infrastructure that exists. Residents defecate in the lake. We’re trying to develop the whole district.”
The company is also working on a project to set up a clean cooking fuel (biomass) production plant to serve refugee camps on the western part of Uganda.Tags: Africa, Canada, greentech, Refugees, renewable energy, Uganda, Urban Planning