Kenyan deal with Canadian firm to give boost to solar power

Total deal estimated to be worth USD 2.2 billion over the next five years

By Aruna Kumarankandath
Published: Tuesday 28 July 2015

Kenya, which has had no major investment in solar energy till date, is all set to sign a major deal that would pave the way for development of 1-gigawatt (GW) of solar power in the country.

The deal is being signed by Kenya’s energy ministry and Canadian solar energy firm SkyPower Global on the occasion of the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi. The total deal is estimated to be worth US$ 2.2 billion over the next five years.

"Kenya has become an African hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, and SkyPower is proud to contribute to this unprecedented milestone in Kenya's ambitious renewable energy plan," explained Kerry Adler, SkyPower President and Chief Executive Officer. "SkyPower's solar projects will help Kenya realise its electrification goals, support the development of the country's renewable energy industry and help the development of strong communities, generating a brighter future for all."

The US $2.2 billion investment would create more than 25,000 total job years in Kenya. SkyPower’s Executive Vice President Charles Cohen has committed another US $173 million toward education, training, and research and development in the country.

The deal comes even as Kenya is driving a lot of investment in renewable energy. A few weeks ago, Kenya broke ground on the largest wind farm in Africa. Estimated to cost US $690 million, once completed, the wind farm near Lake Turkana will generate 310-megawatts (MW). It will be co-financed by the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank.

In addition, the German Development Bank (KfW) recently extended a loan of US $113 million (at an interest rate of 1.75 per cent) for the drilling of 20 exploration and appraisal geothermal wells in phase one of the Bogoria-Silali project in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

Recently, a renewables global status report 2015 (REN21) stated that Kenya has increased its renewable energy capacity by 358 MW in 2014. It now stands at 600 MW of installed capacity. Kenya currently generates about two-thirds of its electricity from renewable sources, mostly hydropower and geothermal energy accounting for 38 per cent and 25 per cent of the total supplies respectively.




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