In Kenya, chairman of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Simon Gicharu, has confirmed the approval of a $1.2 billion loan backing the 55MW solar power project to be implemented in Garissa County.
The Daily Nation reported that the project is estimated to commence construction by July this year, making it the largest solar power station in the African continent. The solar project’s capacity is estimated to be able to power about 625,000 homes.
Gicharu revealed to the media that the money would be used to set up some 210,210 solar panels spread over 85 hectares of flat desert in the northern part of the country.
“We already have the full funding signed for. All we need to do is hit the ground running. We have identified a huge area of flat desert that gets 14 hours of sunlight every day, which is ideal for a large commercial project of this nature,” he said.
He added: “The plant is connected to the grid; therefore, some of the power generated will also be consumed in Nairobi.”
REA solar project creates employment
Moreover, Gicharu said the project would also help the country create employment opportunities offering at least 1,000 jobs.
“We are setting up a mini-city in the middle of a desert with over 1,000 workers, meaning we are opening up that place,” he stressed.
[quote]Meanwhile, Ng’ang’a Munyu, the CEO of REA, stated that the authority’s objective is to ensure the country has sufficient power supply.
“Our strategy is to ensure that the country has electricity and we know that renewable energy, especially solar power, is the way to go,” Munyu said.
According to the media, in 2015 the Chinese government announced that it would construct the plant following an agreement with the Kenyan government.