Kenya Power & Lighting, Kenya’s state-owned utility company, has announced its intention to invest KES560 million (US$6.5 million) in the development of off-grid renewable energy projects in Kenya.
As part of its plans, the company will develop solar and wind projects in the country’s North Eastern and Rift Valley provinces in areas that are not connected to the national grid and, instead, rely on diesel to generate electricity.
When operational, the renewable energy projects will help these areas to reduce their diesel fuel consumption, helping to save around KES50 million every year.
Kenya Power has already commissioned eight solar and wind projects which have a combined capacity of 1MW. These projects are already benefiting electricity customers in Merti, Habaswein, Lodwar, Elwak, Mandera, Marsabit in the Eastern and North Eastern provinces, as well as Hola in the province of Coast.
Kenya Power’s Deputy Manager, Henry Gichungi, said that plans are underway to increase the company’s off-grid renewable energy capacity and he expects the company to install a further 2.3MW. The small town of Wajir in the North Eastern Province of Kenya will be the biggest beneficiary with projects totalling 1.3MW.
The renewable energy projects will be funded entirely by the state and are in line with the government’s as well as the company’s strategy to increase electricity access in all parts of the country including off-grid areas.
Commenting on the attractiveness of the Kenyan solar market, Gichungi said: “Kenya’s geographical location astride the equator gives it a unique advantage for a solar energy market. The country receives good solar insolation all year round coupled with moderate to high temperatures which makes it a conducive market for solar”.