Canadian solar developer SkyPower is to double its investment in Kenya’s solar infrastructure to US$4.4 billion after meeting with Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta at a Business Council for International Understanding last week.

The company previously announced a US$2.2 billion agreement with the country in July, under which it is to develop 1GW of utility-scale projects in the country. However SkyPower has now agreed to build on that agreement, as well as establish a research and development centre in the country.

As part of the agreement SkyPower is to also donate more than 3,000 solar-powered street lamps to the country, echoing a similar donation it made days after announcing its first investment in which it supplied two million home solar kits.

In a statement issued by Kenya’s State House confirming the investment, SkyPower chief executive Kerry Adler said the company was “committed” to increase its investment in the country and lauded Kenya’s “pro-business manner” to attracting international investment.

Kenyatta said the country had looked to “scale up” business links between Kenya and the US since US president Barack Obama visited the country earlier this summer. Since then, Kenya has enacted its Companies Act, Insolvency Act and various new business regulations which Kenyatta said had been designed to “make Kenya more open for investment”.

“The environment for doing business is changing and there are huge opportunities for US companies to get a foothold in Kenya. It is a case of put in your foot first,” he said.

Kenya is not the only emerging solar market SkyPower is active in with the company also a participant in solar auctions in India. SkyPower has secured several projects in the country with record low bids, sparking concern from some within the industry over whether or not the projects would be “workable”.

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