Kenya now banks on solar power in a bid to meet its electricity demand. The country will now be focusing more on solar energy to boost its 5,000MW increase on the grid by 2016,the Energy and Petroleum ministry has announced.
Speaking at a press briefing in Nairobi,Energy Principal Secretary, Mr. Joseph Njoroge said that his Ministry was working on several proposals from solar investors before inking any deal with Kenya Power.
“We have always preferred to use the least cost sources of electricity. However, the uptake of solar locally has been slowed by research to reduce the rates at which this form of energy is fed to the national grid,” said Mr. Njoroge.
He further cited two proposed solar projects in Eldoret which have a combined capacity of 80 megawatts that are set to begin operations at the end of this year.
“We have received many proposals for solar power projects. There are two projects that will be based in Eldoret whose construction is scheduled to start at the end of this year,” said Mr Njoroge.
He added that Kenya now banks on solar power to ensure a sufficient energy nation.
The renewable energy sector in Kenya is among the most active in Africa. In Kenya, investment grew from virtually zero in 2009 to US$1.3 billion in 2010 across technologies such as wind, geothermal, small-scale hydro and biofuels. Kenya is Africa’s first geothermal power producer and the world leader in the number of solar power systems installed per capita. It is still the largest producer of geothermal power in Africa today at 200 MW with only one other African country producing geothermal power, Ethiopia. Connectivity to the national grid in Kenya currently stands at 28%. In 2011, Kenya was also the first country in Africa to open a carbon exchange.
Kenya has set a 5,000MW increase on its grid by 2016 and sees solar energy as a potential contributor.