In East Africa, Kenya’s Garden City Mall, home to ‘Africa’s largest’ carport solar photovoltaic (PV) system, started powering its energy needs through the completed installation in August.
This is according to project developer Solarcentury.
The solar energy will be used to power the centre’s lights and escalators and additional infrastructure and fittings.
Solar PV power system
The 858kWp solar PV system that is installed on the rooftop of the Kenyan leisure centre, was officially inaugurated on Monday. The system is part of an integrated residential, retail and office development worth $540 million, project developer Solarcentury reported.
The solar system is expected to generate 1,256MWh per annum, with the centre’s majority shareholder, Actis, confident that it will significantly reduce electricity costs.
Solar project developers
The solar PV project was developed by technical solar designer and contractor, Solarcentury, in collaboration with solar advisory and finance platform, SolarAfrica, which was established by renewable energy developer and investor NVI Energy to work on commercial scale projects on the continent.
According to Solarcentury, by using solar power, the mall will offset an estimated 18,750 tonnes of CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the solar system.
Solarcentury Kenya’s director, Guy Lawrence said: “Solar is a mature, reliable energy generation technology that can be deployed quickly and at scale. We are seeing more and more businesses in Kenya looking to invest in solar because of the multiple benefits it affords – notably, it enables organisations to take control of their long-term energy spend.
“A system will produce free solar electricity for at least 25 years, the average lifetime of a system.”
SolarCentury has used a dual-mode technology, which means that solar energy is consumed directly during the day and then can switch back to using grid, diesel power when the sun goes down.
Financing solar PV
According to Solarcentury, NVI Energy’s SolarAfrica provided its 12-year financing solution to the project. The renewable energy developer paid for the initial upfront costs and will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the system for the duration of its financing solution.
James Irons, CEO and Founder of SolarAfrica said: “We offered Garden City a finance solution that meant they didn’t need to pay all of the upfront costs to design, procure and install the system.”
Actis Kenya’s director Koome Gikunda said: “Garden City is a project with lots of firsts in this market, but we are particularly proud of the solar carport. We knew that we wanted a solar component to the project early on but the upfront costs were prohibitive.”
Homepage pic credit: Solarcentury