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Firm to deliver Kenya’s largest solar plant

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Solar company, Solarcentury has announced plans to undertake the installation of three solar PV plants at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe).

The $ 2.5M project is largest solar investment in the country to date and is expected to generate a total capacity of 1154kWp.

Work on site is expected to begin in July and the systems are expected to begin generating solar electricity by October 2016.

Two solar roof systems combined with a carport system will be built at the Nairobi icipe campus, while the third solar roof system will be put up in Western Kenya, which will be combined with battery storage.

“In the last two years, we have built one of the largest solar farms in east Africa for a tea farm, as well as a solar carport on the roof of a mall in Nairobi. Now we are bringing our world-class engineering expertise to develop three systems, including what we believe to be the largest battery storage system for solar in east Africa,” said Guy Lawrence, director at Solarcentury responsible for East Africa region.

Solarcentury will design the systems under operate and manage (O&M) model for the next 5 years.

The announcement comes at a time the Ministry of energy is stepping up efforts to promote the use of renewable energy.

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Currently the ministry has power purchase agreement with renewable energy operators under terms that are in line with Energy regulatory Commission (ERC) guidelines.

The move is to encourage the private sector to develop, construct and operate stand-alone and non-grid connected distributed renewable power plants such as small hydro power plants, biomass co-generation and wind energy power plants.

Kenya has the potential to generate orders of magnitude more electricity from solar PV than is consumed each year from its national grid, but it is understood the government has little appetite for solar energy.

Electricity consumption has been growing at rapid rate, averaging 6 percent annually, and investments in new generation capacity have not come online fast enough to meet the growing demand.

As a short-term solution, diesel capacity, much of it leased, provides as much as 38 percent of all grid connected generation.



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