HomeProjectsKesses Solar Power Plant in Eldoret, Kenya

Kesses Solar Power Plant in Eldoret, Kenya

The Kesses Solar Power Plant project is a photovoltaic power plant whose construction was completed in 2022.

Together with the French business Voltalia, the Chinese company Trina Solar completed the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the project. The Solar Power Plant is located in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya.

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A power purchase agreement (PPA) for the Kesses Solar Power Plant project specifies that the Spanish energy company Alten Energas Renovables will sell all of the electricity generated to the publicly traded Kenya Power Corporation (KPLC). As a result, a pre-existing 230 kV transmission line between the Turkwel hydropower plant (56 MW) and the Lessos substation will be used to connect the solar project. The plant site is traversed by this power line.

Also Read: Ruiru affordable housing project in Kiambu, Kenya, launched

Reported in August 2014

Alten to develop 40MW solar plant in Kenya

Alten Kenya Solarfarms is expected to set up a 40MW solar plant in Kesses, Uasin Gishu county Kenya.

The solar plant will be located on a 371 acre piece of land in Kesses near Moi University, Eldoret. The project is expected to cost around US$10m for infrastructure development alone. The project is expected to be ready in 10 to 14 months once the power purchase agreement (PPA) has been signed between Alten Kenya Solarfarms and Kenya Power.

Alten Kenya has planned to set up 159,920 panels which are mounted on mobile devices called solar trackers in order to increase energy production, because the trackers are oriented constantly according to the sun.

The company also plans to construct a 33/220kV sub-station at the project site to connect to the national grid. The electric sub-station will transform the power from medium voltage (33kV) to high voltage (220kV) for connection to the grid

Kenya is putting up solar power plants in many parts of the country to help meet the growing demand for electricity in the country. It is expected that solar power will cater for more than half of the country’s energy needs by 2016.

Once completed, the project will be the largest commercially produced solar energy in the country. The largest power plant currently in the country is in Kericho County, Kenya. The plant is producing 1MW of electricity which is used to power Kenya Tea Development Agency for its factories.

Reported in January 2019

Kesses Solar Power Plant Project updates

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a debt fund and a part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) that provides loans to infrastructure projects in Africa has provided a US$ 35M loan over a 15-year term to the 40MW Kesses Solar Power Plant Project that is being carried out near Eldoret, in the Rift Valley region of Kenya, at a total cost of US$ 87M.

The first tranche of the loan was disbursed to Alten Kenya Solarfarms BV, the Kenyan business of the Alten Energías Renovables Group, in late December 2021. Alten Group is an independent power producer (IPP) with international know-how in developing, financing, and operating photovoltaic solar power plants in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America, and Europe.

The loan enablers

Standard Bank, a long-established lender to the EAIF, was the lead negotiator, acting through its CIB and Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited divisions, and it is also supplying US $41M in debt comprising a term loan, VAT, and Debt Service Reserve facility.

Sherrill Byrne, the Executive Energy, and Infrastructure Finance at Standard Bank, said that the Kesses Project would allow them to provide continued support to the use of clean energy across the African continent, allowing for a more sustainable future, adding that this is the second project that the bak has funded with the Alten Group.

Also Read: Agreement for Lessos-Loosuk & Kisumu-Musaga Transmission Lines Project in Kenya

He also said that the company is pleased to be able to bring in and partner with EAIF for the funding.

Expectations for the Kesses Solar Power Plant Project

Covering an area of 10 hectares and with a planned installed capacity of 55 MWp, the ground mounded facility is expected to create up to 400 jobs during the implementation phase and approximately 15 permanent jobs once it is operational.

It is also expected to improve access to energy for thousands of people, as Alten will sell all its output to Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), the national energy utility, on a 20-year take-or-pay Power Purchase Agreement, thus supporting SDG 7.

What we reported in June 2020

ALTEN Africa the Builders of Kesses Soalr project to support COVID-19 fight in Kenya

The international company ALTEN Africa, an independent solar power producer using PV technology, has made a donation to the government of the Kenyan County of Uasin Gishu, consisting of a shipment of high-protection and surgical masks, plastic face shields, hand sanitiser and individually bottled water worth 1 million Kenyan shillings (about USD10,000).

With this donation the company is helping to provide the healthcare supplies needed to stop contagion of COVID-19 in one of Kenya’s highest risk and most populated regions, and in so doing helping its communities and most vulnerable groups in the fight against the spread of the virus in the country.

The healthcare supplies donated were handed over by the company at the headquarters of the government of Uasin Gishu County, during an event hosted by the Governor, His Excellency Jackson Mandago, attended also by the Vice-Governor His Excellency Daniel Chemno, the head of Trade & Industry, Dra Emily Kogos, and the Assembly Member for the County, the Honourable Gilbert Tenai.

ALTEN Africa was represented by the Country Manager for Kenya, Mr Peter Sibondo, the Head of Environmental and Social corporate Responsibility, Ms. Victoria González and Mr George Tarus, Community Liaison Officer of the Kesses 1 photovoltaic plant that ALTEN Africa is developing in Uasin Gishu County.

The event was also attended by the Africa Area Manager of the NGO CESAL, Mr. Ignacio Valero and his colleagues in the country, Ms. Romana Koech, Country Manager, and Mr Henry Waitindi, Manager of the AVSI Foundation. Both NGOs have cooperated with ALTEN Africa in the conversations with the government of Uasin Gishu County and in the purchase of the healthcare supplies requested by the latter.

ALTEN Africa is building the Kesses Solar Power Plant Project, with peak power of 55 MWp and 40 MWac power capacity which, once finished, will account for 2% of the country’s entire installed capacity. The new plant will discharge 123.6 GWh /year of clean energy into Kenya’s grid, enough to meet the electricity needs of 824,000

The Global greenhouse gas and climate change related impacts during the Project life-cycle are expected to be positive, as one of the main consequences of the project will be the generation of 40MW of GHG free power. Additionally, the new plant will avoid between 33 and 34 metric tonnes of carbon emissions into the atmosphere every year throughout its 25-year lifespan.

The Kesses 1 plant is ALTEN Africa’s first utility scale project in Kenya. It has one of the highest levels of solar radiation in the world, and climatic conditions that are also favourable to the plant’s energy production.

The Kesses Solar Power Plant Project closed its financing at the end of 2019 with a financial instrument from ALTEN Energías Renovables Group and will shortly close the plant refinancing with project finance led by commercial and multilateral financiers. Construction work began at the end of 2019, but is currently suspended, until the lockdown of the general population due to the pandemic is lifted.

With the commissioning of this plant scheduled for the second quarter of 2021, Kesses 1 will become one of the largest photovoltaic solar plants in east Africa. It will be connected to the Kenya Power Lighting Company (KPLC) grid, the country’s utility, via the Turkwell–Lessos power line.

To achieve this ALTEN Africa has planned the construction of a substation to raise the voltage to 220 KV and a swich substation with a layout that will provide close to 100% availability to Kenya’s grid. Likewise, this infrastructure will provide a secure supply to Kenya’s electricity grid and allow future supplies in the Eldoret area to be connected.

ALTEN Africa’s commitment to Kenya

Before construction work began, in February 2020 ALTEN Africa held a meeting at the project site with the local community to explain first-hand both the project itself and the advantages it will bring. These will include the option of employing local labour and other underlying benefits.

This is part of the policy of engaging with community stakeholders that ALTEN Energías Renovables establishes in all its projects worldwide to build long-term
relationships with communities and identify opportunities that contribute to the area’s economic and social development, as well as environmental preservation of the area affected by each of the projects it undertakes.

ALTEN Africa expects that most of the employees in the plant, both during the construction and in the operations & maintenance phases, will come from Eldoret’s neighbouring communities. In view of the effects of COVID-19 in Kenya, a country that is more vulnerable to the possible spread of the virus because it is a transit corridor for east Africa, ALTEN Africa is sticking to its commitment to the local population as part of its Social Investment policy, with funds earmarked for this.

The company is working with the Spanish NGO CESAL and also with AVSI Foundation, making available to the Uasin Gishu government the healthcare material it requested to help to prevent new contagions.

ALTEN Africa’s senior management has made its commitment to the project abundantly clear on repeated occasions. One of the most recent, before the onset of the pandemic, was when Inspire Evolution, one of ALTEN Africa’s key shareholders in this and other projects being developed by the company in eastern and sub-Saharan Africa, held its Investment Committee meeting in Eldoret.

About ALTEN AfrIca

ALTEN Africa is part of the ALTEN Energías Renovables group, one of the most active independent power producers (IPP) on the international stage, specialising in the development, financing, construction and operating of photovoltaic solar plants in competitive environments, mainly in Latin America (through its ALTEN America
subsidiary) and sub-Saharan Africa (through ALTEN Africa).

About ALTEN Energías Renovables

ALTEN Energías Renovables (ALTEN ER) is an Independent Power Producer (IPP) specialising in photovoltaic solar energy, with offices in Spain, the Netherlands, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Mexico and Mozambique. It has extensive expertise in the development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of PV power plants in challenging environments.

The company has a 350 MWp photovoltaic solar plant in operation since 2018 in Mexico in the state of Aguascalientes, and a 300 MWp photovoltaic plant in the state of Puebla, at the financial closing stage. In Europe, the company has been operating a plant in El Casar/Guadalajara (Spain) since 2019 and has a pipeline of 300 MW at different stages of development in Portugal, Italy and Spain.

In sub-Saharan Africa ALTEN ER has been operating a 45.5MWp plant in Namibia since 2019 and has closed the refinancing of a 55 MWp plant in Kenya. It is leading a 157 MWp project at an advanced stage of development in Nigeria with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed with Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET); PPA negotiations are also underway with EDM on a 40 MWp project in Cuamba (Mozambique). ALTEN ER has a
pipeline of more than 1 GW at various stages of development in Africa, Mexico and those mentioned above in Europe.

solar plant

What we reported in 2019

Kenya set to construct 40MW solar plant in Eldoret

The government of Kenya though the Kenya-based French solar firm Alten Africa, has picked compatriot renewable energy firm Voltalia to construct 40MW solar power plant in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu county that will account for 2% of the country’s total capacity.

According to a report made by the solar firm, electricity distributor Kenya Power were already informed of the choice of the French Voltalia to carry out the construction and operation and maintenance service on the plant.

“Alten Africa ratifies the choice of Voltalia to execute the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) and operations, and plant maintenance (O & M) service for its new photovoltaic plant in Kenya,” said Alten.

“The plant, located in Uasin Gishu, in the municipality of Eldoret, will have 40MW installed capacity, accounting for two percent of the country’s total capacity,” adds the report.

Also Read:Nigeria set to construct 30MW solar power plant

Solar single-axis trackers

The solar project will sit on a 100 hectares of land will have over 161,000 monocrystalline panels set into solar single-axis trackers. Upon completion scheduled for March 2020, approximately 123.6GWh of clean electricity will be injected every year into the electric network, enough to meet the annual energy consumption needs of over 824,000 Kenyans.

“The new photovoltaic plant will produce an estimated total of 123.6 GWh / year. It will be Alten Africa’s first utility scale project in Kenya and one of the largest solar power stations in East Africa,” said Alten.

Kenya targets a universal access to electricity by 2020 to increase from 70%. Earlier in May 2018 inked a power purchase deal with Kenya Power for another 50MW solar project located in Kopere, Nandi County.

Additionally, the Kesses power plant project will add to the many electricity projects that have been started or are planned as the country races to raise output to 5,000MW and cut the cost of electricity to consumers by half.

Reported in January 2019

ALTEN Africa ratifies the choice of Voltalia to execute the EPC and O&M service for its new photovoltaic plant in Kenya

ALTEN Energías Renovables has confirmed its choice of the French company Voltalia to carry out EPC and O&M service on its new PV solar power plant in Kenya. The new plant, located in the state of Uasin Gishu, in the municipality of Eldoret, the fifth largest city by population in Kenya, will produce 40MWac of power, accounting for 2% of the installed capacity in this country of 45 million inhabitants. Kenya has become East Africa’s main economic driver in recent years.

With a presence in over 18 countries and considerable experience in development, financing, EPC and Operation & Maintenance in renewable projects, Voltalia will start construction on this plant by December. This solar project is to be built on a land area of 100 hectares and will have over 161,000 monocrystalline panels set into solar single-axis trackers.

Once it goes into commercial operation, scheduled for March 2020, approximately 123.6GWh of clean electricity will be injected every year into the electric network, enough to meet the annual energy consumption needs of over 824,000 Kenyans. Thus, the plant will avoid the emission into the atmosphere of 33.88 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year of the plant’s life.

The project will provide employment opportunities for the Kenyan population, both in the construction and in the Operations & Maintenance phases. ALTEN Africa has made a commitment to use the local materials available and to work with local companies as much as possible over the different phases of the project.

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