14 March 2013 – Kenya Power has embarked on several renewable energy projects that will be fully funded by the country’s treasury at a cost of US$6.5 million reports the Star of Kenya. Kenya Power says the solar and wind power projects are intended to reduce reliance on diesel fuel to generate electricity for areas not yet connected to the national grid.
The off-grid power projects in North Eastern and Rift Valley provinces will save the company about US$580,000 annually usually spent on the expensive thermal power generation. "The renewable power projects, which are wholly funded by the state, are part of the company’s and government’s strategy to accelerate electricity access in off-grid areas," Henry Gichungi, the deputy manager in charge of off-grid stations, says.
Kenya Power says it has commissioned eight similar projects with a total installed capacity of 1.0 MW. The projects are located at Merti, Habaswein, Lodwar, Elwak, Mandera, Marsabit and Hola.
Planned projects will raise the renewable energy capacity in off-grid areas by an additional 2.3 MW, with Wajir having the highest installed capacity of 1.3 MW.
"Kenya receives good solar insolation (a measure of solar radiation energy) all year round coupled with moderate-to-high temperatures which makes it a conducive market for solar," Gichungi says.