KenGen is looking forward to constructing Kamburu Floating Solar Photovoltaic Plant thereby making it the very first grid-level floating solar plant in the country. According to a notice that was released by KenGen, the Kamburu Floating Solar Photovoltaic Plant project is expected to possess a capacity of 40MWp. Kamburu Dam is among the Seven Forks Dams that were established along the River Tana and it powers a 94.2MW hydroelectric power station which was commissioned in the year 1974.
The first floating solar PV plant in Kenya was built by the power firm Ecoligo GmbH in the year 2021. The plant was small in size and has a capacity of 69kWp. It was set up in one of the reservoirs based at Rift Valley Roses farm located in Naivasha.
Energy generated from the solar system is solely intended for self-consumption and not even any amount of it is fed to the national grid of the country. In the year 2020, KenGen gave a contract to a firm from Norway, Multiconsult, to conduct the evaluation of determining the potential of constructing solar installations on the dams of Kamburu, Kiambere, and even the hydropower plants of Turkwel so as to enable the optimization of usage of water and production of power.
Kamburu Floating Solar Photovoltaic Plant Project Funding
The power producer institution is expected to kick off a feasibility study for the floating solar project having being funded by the the German Development Bank (KfW) even as the German institution eyes a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) for the electricity that is expected to be generated by this upcoming floating solar power plant.. Currently, floating solar photovoltaic plants are becoming more popular globally amid the rise in shift to the renewable sources of energy. The experts in this field are extolling the effectiveness of the floating solar Pv projects in that they tend to reduce the evaporations from the dams. Kenya contains quite a number of solar plants with the largest of them all located in Garissa County with a power capacity of 54.65MW. Other solar plants in the country are the Cedate, Alten, Malindi solar farm, and the Selenkei Solar Farm which all possess an installed capacity of 40MW. These solar plants do supply to the national grid of Kenya but their intermittence has posed quite a challenge in balancing of the national grid.
It has been noted that large power consumers are increasingly tapping solar power in order to supply for extra power other than the power acquired from the grid. This has been proven to be efficient in terms of cutting the cost of energy consumed.