On Friday, Enel Green Power (EGP), the Italian renewable energy corporation said it will be partnering with US based Powerhive to build and operate 1MW solar mini-grids for 100 villages in Kenya.
Solar mini-grids for Kissi and Nyamira counties
According to a press release, the project is estimated to cost $12 million for which EGP said it will provide 93% and Powerhive will cover the remaining 7%.
Construction of the solar mini-grids project will commence in the course of 2016 and will be located in the Western part of Kenya, benefiting the Kissi and Nyamira counties.
The solar mini-grids project “will bring clean energy to 20,000 households, small businesses, schools and healthcare centres, thus powering and connecting around 90,000 people to the grid,” stated the release.
According to the release, the project will integrate the mini-grids with energy storage facilities, allowing for the balancing of power supply and demand, thereby reduce instability and offsetting "variations in customer loads and unpredictable fluctuations in power generation which are intrinsic when producing power from renewable sources."
Kenya has 30% electrification rate
EGP’s CEO Francesco Venturini commented: “Kenya’s rich and differentiated technology mix in the renewables industry offers a quite unique platform for the business development of Enel Green Power in Africa.
“This country couples a low electrification rate, still in the range of 30%, with one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates of the region, thus making this union ideal to implement innovative solutions able to integrate the electrification of rural areas with generation from renewables, storage facilities as well as advanced billing systems.”
The solar mini-grids project will adopt the application of a mobile phone prepayment system, which will provide an easier and more reliable payment method, said the company statement.