ARUA. Misconceptions among communities about renewable energy products and the flooding on to markets of fake goods is hindering the adoption and use of the products in Arua in an effort to protect the environment.
Majority of the locals consider renewable energy products to be either fake or too expensive and therefore beyond their reach.
The revelations were made during a market research meeting to determine the current marketing needs of suppliers, small and medium enterprises engaged in renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies and also to protect the consumers of these products in Arua early this week.
Uganda National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Alliance (UNREEEA) in partnership with GIZ Energy Programme and Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is currently implementing a marketing campaigns program to bring companies engaged in Renewable Energy (RE), Energy Efficient (EE) technologies closer to the consumers in Northern Uganda, West Nile sub-region, Lango, Acholi, and Soroti district.
The aim is to promote trade integration, financial cooperation and enable for better business environment to feed into the RE policy that is currently being reviewed.
During the meeting, Mr Robert Ariaka, a New Vision journalist said “I bought my solar system from one of the renown shops in Arua town, they gave me a guarantee of six months but it only worked for less than two months, when I returned it, they refused to honor their warranty”.
He said such experiences coupled with misconceptions that the products are for the rich are discouraging locals from acquiring them.
Ms Hasina Hamzah, a solar dealer in Arua town said people are often skeptical when they come to by the products.
“People want genuine things, others come to our shops with very bad experiences after losing money in buying fake products, they would want to know from which country the product is coming from but for us, we deal in quality products only”, Hamzah said.
Mr Grace Walukamba Aldon, the communication and membership manager at UNREEEA said in partnership with Giz they are training certifying officers who will track fake products from the border points.
“We are training certifying officers in partnership with Giz who will go on to border points identifying products moving out or moving in the country so that the image of our country or companies dealing in renewable energy products can be cleared to mitigate the challenge of fake products”, Walukamba said.
He urged politicians to make bylaws which should prohibit the manufacturing and selling of fake renewable energy products within their localities.
Walukamba said the renewable energy consortium was also developing a book that would contain names of all companies in East Africa which deals in genuine products.