US $2m solar plant to be built in Nairobi, Kenya

A US $2m solar plant is set to be constructed in Nairobi, Kenya in the next two to five months. The 1.8MW of captive solar projects will add to the 20MW already in the pipeline.

Premier Solar Solutions, a Nairobi-based solar power solutions provider who will execute the project. The solar projects come at a time when there is a significant surge in the use of captive Solar PV technology to power the Commercial and Industrial sectors.

Chief Executive Rupesh Hindocha says the capacity additions are driven by rapid technological advances such as: Increase in efficiency, New manufacturing techniques, Use of new materials, declining production costs, and shift of manufacturing bases to low-cost regions in Asia.

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Globally, solar energy is becoming the fastest-growing power generation technology with installed capacity of solar PV growing at an average annual rate of over 50%.

According to Hindocha, by end of 2019 the captive solar installations in Kenya is about 30-50MW with annual growth rates of at least 15-20% as solar PV becomes more popular in the market.

Increased power costs

“As power costs for Kenya’s manufacturing industry continue to increase, alternative power solutions must be sought if Kenya is going to be competitive and achieve the third pillar, of the Jubilee Government’s Big 4 Agenda of getting manufacturing up from 9% to 15% of GDP by 2022,” Hindocha added.

Three key aspects that Premier Solar identified that the Kenya market lacked is access to finance, experienced EPC/solar engineers/technicians and competitive pricing. Rajat Surey, Head of Technical and Projects at Premier Solar states that they have been able to provide solutions to those three aspects among others.

Local universities such as Strathmore University’s Center for Energy Research provide solar technical training to meet ERC requirements, ensuring the sustainable supply of well-trained solar technicians.

With the increase in power projects, the local developers and vendors will be more stable. As a result, this will reduce the need to import various components which will be locally available.

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