Kenya: Planned solar plants to yield 80Mw

*Solar panel harness energy of the sun.

*Solar panel harness energy of the sun.

23 October 2015, Nairobi – Construction of two solar power plants with a combined capacity of 80 megawatts is planned to start at the end of this year, according to Mr Joseph Njoroge, principal secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum.

The two proposed projects — Solienke and Cedata — will be based in Eldoret, each with an output of 40 megawatts.

Details of the cost of setting up the solar plants have not been disclosed. However, Mr Njoroge said investors behind the projects are almost reaching a financial deal paving the way for their construction.

“We have always preferred to use the least cost sources of electricity. There are two proposed solar plants of 40 megawatts each that are likely to start work by the end of the year,” said Mr Njoroge on Wednesday on the sidelines of an event announcing entry of Google in the Lake Turkana Wind Power project.

Once set up, the solar plants will inject the second batch of solar electricity into the national grid.

Power Purchase
Last week, Strathmore University signed an electricity purchase agreement with Kenya Power that saw the injection of the first solar energy to the network at $0.12 per unit.

Strathmore has installed solar panels with the capacity to produce 0.6 megawatts of power at a cost of Sh133.9 million ($1.3 million) through a loan from the French Development Agency, repayable within five years at an interest of 4.1 per cent.

The power purchase deal will last for 20 years. Of the total capacity, 0.25 megawatts will be sold to Kenya Power while the rest is used to power the institution.

Kenya’s Energy Mix
In its plan to increase the installed capacity for power generation by 5,000 megawatts by the end of the year, the government has laid emphasis on development of renewable sources of power such as wind and solar and clean alternatives like geothermal to lower costs in a bid to attract investments.

Google on Wednesday announced Sh4 billion ($40 million) capital injection into the Lake Turkana Wind Power project for a 12.5 per cent stake.

The 310 megawatts wind power plant will be set up at a cost of Sh72.3 billion and will supply electricity to the national grid at 8.5 US cents per unit.

Wind and solar energy currently account for less than one per cent of the country’s electricity production mix.

Geothermal is the largest source accounting for 50 per cent of the total generation followed by hydro at 38 per cent, according to data from the ministry of energy and petroleum.
*Immaculate Karambu – Daily Trust

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