East Africa’s largest industrial solar system installed in Kenya

The KaySalt PV field. Source: SMA

Commercial, industrial and residential solar provider SolarAfrica has commissioned one of Kenya’s largest solar hybrid systems in Malindi, in East Africa. 

The 991kWp system is a PV-diesel hybrid project developed for Kenyan salt producer Krystalline Salt. The system will generate 1.6GWh of clean electricity annually, saving Krystalline around 22% of its electricity costs.

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The project was developed in collaboration with SMA subsidiary SMA Sunbelt, using its Fuel Save Controller which complements the diesel generator and works to offset solar’s fluctuating energy source for a harmonised delivery of power. The project was installed by local Kenyan installers Harmonic Systems, who managed to commission the project two months ahead of schedule. In terms of funding, the project was made possible through the government of Japan’s Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) financing programme that facilitates low-carbon technologies in developing countries.

“We are very pleased to see this project come together in such a short period of time, given the many challenges in doing a project in rural Africa,” said Noriko Ishibashi, researcher of Pacific Consultants from Japan. “We believe this project will greatly contribute to the joint efforts between the Kenyan and Japanese governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the bilaterally agreed JCM.”

SMA Sunny Tripower inverters. Source: SMA

The solar component of the system allows for a fossil fuel reduction of around 24,000 litres of diesel each year and at the same time a low maintenance solution. It will displace 1,268 tonnes of carbon dioxide and benefit the surrounding Kenyan communities due to job creation during construction phase.

“Even while constructing the factory, we had planned space for a PV system to reduce our carbon footprint and the amount of electricity generated with diesel generators,” said Deepak Patel, managing director of Krystalline Salt. “As members of the UNGC, we are committed to the Global Sustainability Goals, in this case SDG7. Sustainable production and clean energy solutions are always in our minds. I am very happy that the PV hybrid system entered operation ahead of schedule and we can save 22% of our annual electricity costs in the future thanks to a 55% solar power share during daylight hours.”

This is SolarAfrica’s latest commercial project in Africa, as the company continues to strengthen its market position in the C&I space.

“As the project developer, it has been a privilege to play a part in Kaysalt achieving their sustainability goals, and by making use of the JCM grant, delivering the solar system at the required ROI,” said Johan Pienaar, commercial director of SolarAfrica.

“We congratulate Kaysalt for making use of a cleaner energy alternative. Kaysalt has clearly set a new standard for industrial power users to follow. We at SolarAfrica are passionate about solar energy and will continue to offer innovative clean energy solutions to enable commercial and industrial power users to effortlessly convert to solar.” 

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