Garissa-based 55MW solar farm starts operations in Dec

What you need to know:

  • The 55-megawatt solar plant in Garissa is expected to produce power for 625,000 homes.
  • The solar plant, expected to cut Kenya’s carbon emissions, sits on an 85-hectare parcel of land with 200,200 solar panels.
  • China Jiangxi is the contractor of the solar farm using a Sh13.7 billion ($135.7 million) loan from China’s Exim Bank.

East Africa’s largest solar power plant in northern Kenya is set to start operations later this year, adding clean and affordable power to the national grid.

The 55-megawatt solar plant in Garissa is expected to produce power for 625,000 homes.

The Rural Electrification Authority (REA), which is developing the plant, said its completion would boost the manufacturing sector, one of four pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s economic revival strategy.

“We are currently pushing contractors and by December, the 54.5-megawatt plant will be up and running,” REA chairman Simon Gicharu said yesterday at the launch of e-procurement system at the State agency.

The solar plant, expected to cut Kenya’s carbon emissions, sits on an 85-hectare parcel of land with 200,200 solar panels.

China Jiangxi is the contractor of the solar farm using a Sh13.7 billion ($135.7 million) loan from China’s Exim Bank.

Commencement of construction works at the solar plant suffered delays, blamed partly on prolonged talks for the power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power.

The agency, in September 2016, signed the PPA with Kenya Power to sell electricity from the solar plant at Sh12 ($0.12) per kilowatt hour (kWh) — about Sh8 cheaper than diesel-generated power.

Mr Gicharu said the e-procurement system that went live yesterday would ensure integrity and security of submitted supplier documents.

“All suppliers will now have equal opportunities to participate in the procurement processes whether they are in Wajir, Lamu or Nairobi,” he said.

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