HomeRegional NewsEast AfricaExploring multi-sectoral uses of minigrid power for all in Kenya

Exploring multi-sectoral uses of minigrid power for all in Kenya

InfraCo Africa and Rural Village Energy Solutions are committing $8 million to support the scale-up of Kudura Power East Africa in rural Kenya.

InfraCo Africa, which is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, will become a 40% shareholder of minigrid operator Rural Village Energy Solutions’ (RVE.Sol) Kudura Power East Africa (KPEA).

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Gilles Vaes, InfraCo Africa CEO said they are committed to scaling up minigrids as a commercially viable infrastructure class. “RVE.Sol is one of the leading minigrid operators in sub-Saharan Africa and we are confident in their capacity to consolidate the sector in Kenya and East Africa.

“The project will not only expand access to clean, reliable solar power in rural areas but will pilot delivery of street lighting, water pumping and purification and appliance financing to ensure that communities and businesses can truly maximise the health, security and economic benefits of clean and renewable power.”

RVE.Sol has established 20 operational minigrid power systems in Kenya and with the support of InfraCo Africa, this project will build an additional 22 minigrids across Busia Country in northwest Kenya. The minigrids incorporate battery back-up, range in size from 10-60kWp and total 512kWp. The minigrids are set up using a modular design which enables the company to respond to changing electricity demand as time passes.

The new minigrids will create more than 7,000 new rural electricity connections through a mix of densification of existing sites and the addition of totally new minigrids.

Minigrid power in Kenya as infrastructure investment, not stand-alone power system

Vivian Venderinjo, RVE.Sol CEO said they are committed to realising renewable minigrids as the least-cost form of rural electrification which they think will result in transformational electrification rates. “The partnership with InfraCo Africa, a leading infrastructure investor on the continent, gives credence to minigrids as an infrastructure investment, moving them into the mainstream for the accelerated achievement of SDG7.”

The project is supported by the Green Mini Grid facility Kenya (GMG Kenya) which is a programme implemented by Agence Française de Développement in 2016 and funded by UKAid and the EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. GMG Kenya provided investment support to Kudura during its early years which resulted in 11 electrified villages and is now expanding the investment to another 22 villages.

This follow on investment is based on the successes of the early phases of the project and will serve rural households, local communities and public lighting in Busia county by contributing to their socio-economic development. The project recently secured $235,000 of grant funding from PIDG Technical Assistance to support a variety of capacity building initiatives and technical studies.

It is anticipated that the mini-grids will be installed by the beginning of 2022, with full commissioning expected after the middle of 2022. By scaling KPEA’s innovative multi-sector approach to off-grid power, KUDURA minigrid seeks to attract further private sector investment, demonstrating the added value of adopting a combined approach to the delivery of power, water, street lighting and appliance finance as a catalyst for sustainable rural development.

Theresa Smith
Theresa Smith is a Content Specialist for ESI Africa.

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