Kenya has on Wednesday unveiled plans to construct largest solar power plant in East Africa to be located at North Eastern town of Garissa. The 55MW solar power plant is aimed at boosting Kenya’s vision 2030.
The US$ 128m solar farm will have 210,210 solar panels and is expected to be the largest power plant in East and Central Africa. It will be constructed by China Jiangxi using a loan from China’s Exim Bank.
The project which is will take 12 months to be complete is anticipated to produce enough power to light up approximately 625,000 homes; this is according to The Rural Electrification Authority (REA), this is the agency that has been contracted to build the solar farm.
Construction of the mega development is scheduled to commence in July.
Electricity from the power plant will retail at Sh12 ($0.12) per unit or about Sh6 lower than diesel-generated power.
“We are going heavy on renewable energy for faster electrification of off-grid areas and households,” REA chairman Simon Gicharu said at a press briefing in Nairobi.
Solar experts consider Kenya to be one of the African countries that have a high potential to generate solar energy given high radiation levels from the sun throughout the year. The intensity of sunlight and not heat levels is the determinant of solar electricity production.
Kenya has more than 300 days of sunshine per year, doubling Germany’s which is the global leader in solar energy production with an installed capacity of more than 40,000MW. Kenya’s total power capacity is 2,294MW with solar power catering for less than one per cent.
The plant will be located 20km from Garissa town and is expected to generate cheap electricity and also cut Kenya’s carbon emissions by almost 43,000 tonnes per year for trading in the global carbon market.