Africa’s first cooperative of local solar companies (Sendea) longlisted for Ashden Award

Ashden, a UK charity, has been supporting transformative climate solutions for 20 years. More than 800 organisations applied for the 2021 Ashden Awards, and Association of Sendea Uganda Ltd is one of just 38 to have made it to the longlisting stage and is one of 13 African climate solutions organisations that have made it to this stage. Award winners will be announced this Autumn – after a rigorous assessment and judging process involving on-the-ground visits and input from sector experts.

Association of Sendea Members Uganda (Sendea UG) is a cooperative, established by like-minded local solar companies, who are majority owned by people of Ugandan nationality.

Sendea UG enables SMEs to provide sustainable off-grid solutions for Ugandan households, small businesses, farmers, and institutions, create sustainable local jobs and close the gap of the ‘missing middle’ in Uganda’s solar sector. Such a cooperative of local solar SMEs is the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The fundamental idea of Sendea is: Growth through cooperation”, says Loy Kyozaire, CEO of Sendea UG.

Sendea offers special advantages to its members, such as peer-to-peer-exchange, trainings and workshops. Sendea also enables its members to participate in tenders as a consortium, to obtain better conditions from manufacturers as a purchase syndicate, and to be an attractive partner for international organizations with regard to reliable installation and maintenance of solar systems.

Any Ugandan solar company that is willing to meet the quality standards and actively participate in the life of the cooperative can become a member. The association now has 6 members and plans to expand to up to 10 members before the end of this year.

Loy Kyozaire, CEO of Sendea UG, says: “As an independent training institute, Sendea Academy wants to contribute to improving the quality of the Ugandan solar industry. We have trained over 150 participants in solar technology as certified technicians and freelance technicians, and in solar business financial management and solar business management. We plan to train over 500 participants in the next 2 years.”

Sendea UG is supported by the Stiftung Solarenergie Germany and GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit). It has also been supported by Stichting Doen before.

Ashden’s CEO Harriet Lamb said: “The Ashden Awards focus on cutting-edge initiatives that are both green and fair – that deliver climate justice, create good jobs, train people in green skills, and cut carbon.

Through its awards and ongoing networking and support, Ashden spotlights and supports climate and energy innovators around the world – including businesses, non-profits and public sector organisations delivering proven, ready-to-scale climate solutions.

“The more we work together to solve the challenge of energy poverty in Africa, the more we create a better continent for better people” says Loy Florence Kyozaire.


SENDEA is longlisted in the Ashden Awards category “Energy Access Skills”. East African organisations and companies longlisted in other categories:

Humanitarian Energy: 

  • Energy Peace Partners and Nuru (joint application), Democratic Republic of Congo – a groundbreaking micro-grid project, made possible by a pioneering finance mechanism of renewable energy credits.
  • Kakuma Market Based Energy Access Project, Kenya – innovative support for local clean energy entrepreneurs.
  • Solar Freeze, Kenya – pay-as-you-store refrigeration in humanitarian settings.
  • Kube Energy, South Sudan/Somalia – Helping humanitarian agencies integrate renewable energy into their operations through innovative finance.

Energy Access Innovation

  • KOKO Networks, Kenya – 700 ‘ethanol ATMs’ supply cleaner cooking fuel made from sugar industry waste.
  • The Cooling as a Service Initiative – open-source tools and business models help SMEs around the world run sustainable ‘cooling as a service’ businesses.
  • New Energy Nexus Uganda – inclusive support for community-based sustainable energy businesses.


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