Kenya to install solar mini-grids to power remote north

Kenya’s government, with the support of a €33 million ($37 million) credit from the French government, plans to install 23 solar mini-grid power stations with the capacity to produce 9.6 MW of power to connect households in remote northern Kenya to electricity.

The initiative will cover seven arid counties in northern Kenya, neighbouring Somalia and Ethiopia that have been relying on thermal power in select major trading centres, leaving hundreds of thousands of rural communities without power.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault witnessed the signing of the credit facility agreement this month.

‘This project will reduce the average cost of electricity production via mini-grids by an average of 20%, contribute to the improvement of energy security of supply of Kenya, support economic development by promoting more reliable electricity service [and reduce] greenhouse gas emissions associated with the combustion of diesel,’ Kenyatta said.

Kenya’s 50% state-owned utility Kenya Power will implement the project, which will be mainly anchored on the 23 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems but will also include wind turbines in some locations.

Since 2013, Kenya has doubled the number of citizens with power from around 13 million to some 25 million, with more than 22,000 schools connected to electricity in the entire country in a project that will cost the government $350 million. About 4000 of those schools are connected through stand-alone solar PV.

Image credit: Practical Action

This article was originally published on Renewable Energy World

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