Mapping suitable locations for installation of solar power plants in Mbale district.
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Information about solar radiation on the earth’s surface is important for atmospheric research and solar energy application (Lopez & Batlles, 2004). The knowledge regarding the availability of global solar radiation reaching a given locality is essential for the design of a solar energy conversion system (Phys,2011). Direct solar radiation is the amount of incoming solar radiation incident on the surface of the earth directly from the sun while diffuse solar radiation is the amount of solar radiation that hits the earth surface after it has been scattered by objects within the atmosphere (Oloo, et al., 2016). Global solar radiation is the summation of direct and diffuse solar radiation. Solar insolation is the actual amount of solar radiation incident on a unit surface over a period of time. According to Lopez & Battles, values of clear-sky solar radiation are useful for determination of the maximum performances of solar heating and photovoltaic plants as well as for sizing air conditioning equipment in buildings or determine their thermal loading. Other scientific grounds, such as agriculture or hydrology, also need global solar radiation estimations as they need knowledge of insolation levels for studying ecosystem fluxes of materials and energy (Phys,2011). One of the most important factors that affect both the incoming solar radiation at the earth’s surface and the solar radiation from the atmosphere, is the change in the sun zenith angle and the corresponding change in the air mass through which the sun radiation travels and the second largest results from the scattering and absorption from presence of clouds (Hena, et al., 2013). According to Uganda Bureau of statistics 2017, Over 56910 households in the district use tadooba for lighting which makes only 26358 households having access to electricity. For a country to achieve genuine economic growth and development there must be adequate access to Energy. Uganda as a country with such aspirations is working towards becoming a middle income economy and energy is one of the instruments behind socio-economic transformation and development of a nation (CREEC, 2017). Currently access to electricity in Uganda is estimated at 23% in urban centers and only 19% in rural areas (USAID, 2018). The growth in electricity demand in the country is estimated at about 10% per annum (UETCL, 2018), a figure that hardly corresponds the rate at which the country generates electricity.