Thursday, September 23, 2021

Kenya to add 80mW solar power to national grid

Private investors have received approval to build two solar electric plants at 40 megawatts each.

• December 12, 2020
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. [CREDIT: The Africa Report]
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. [CREDIT: The Africa Report]

Kenya is set to add 80 megawatts of solar power to the national electricity grid in 2021, the country’s energy regulator said on Friday.

Caroline Kimathi, principal renewable energy officer at the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), told journalists in Nairobi that Kenya generates approximately 200 megawatts of electricity from harnessing the sun’s energy.

“Private investors have received approval to build two solar electric plants at 40 megawatts each that will be operational in 2021,” Ms. Kimathi told a forum on reviewing a draft regulation on solar energy.

Kenya is an ideal location for production of electricity through solar panels due to abundant sunshine throughout the year in most parts of the country, Ms. Kimathi noted.

She also said solar energy is also a cost-effective way to ensure universal electrify coverage, especially in the arid and semi-arid areas, in the country.

Nickson Bukachi, senior renewable energy officer at the EPRA, said that Kenya is planning to review the solar legal framework to boost its uptake among households and the industrial sector.

Kenya imports over 90 percent of solar equipment used in the country due to lack of local production technology and capacity, he said.

Proposed regulations recommend a number of standards for solar equipment imported into the country to safeguard consumers from substandard products, Mr. Bukachi said.

The new regulatory framework will promote technology transfer by ensuring that all solar projects undertaken by foreign firms have a minimum local content, he added. 


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