- Kenya brings online 50 MW Garissa Solar Power Plant in Garissa County for SHS 13 billion investment
- The project has been developed by the REREC and is part of the country’s eventual aim to have 400 MW of solar power capacity
- Local media says the project has deployed 210,000 solar panels and has been financed by China’s Exim Bank
The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta officially inaugurated the 50 MW Garissa Solar Power Plant in Mbalambala, Garissa County, calling it the largest solar PV facility of its kind in East and Central Africa. Developed by the country’s Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), previously Rural Electrification Authority (REA), the project had been planned since 2016 and was expected to have 55 MW capacity initially (see 55 MW Solar Plant For Kenya).
The project, built for SHS 13 billion ($12.8 million), has finally been connected to the grid. President Kenyatta said this project is part of the country’s plans to develop 400 MW of solar power capacity eventually.
The government claims this solar power project now takes its renewable energy share in the total energy mix to over 90%. Referring to the project as having 54 MW capacity, local news portal The Standard said it comprises 210,000 solar panels and was financed by China’s Exim Bank through a concessional loan arrangement.
Several large scale solar power plants are being planned in Kenya with international agencies backing these. Very recently in September 2019, Frontier Energy raised $106 million financing from the European Investment Bank and Dutch development bank FMO for its 80 MW solar project portfolio in Kenya (see 80 MW Kenyan Solar Energy Projects Secure EIB & FMO Support).
Kenya has a goal of universal access to electricity to all Kenyans by 2022 under the Kenya National Electrification Strategy (KNES) developed in partnership with the World Bank and off-grid solar is identified as a low-cost option to help achieve the aim (see Off-Grid Solar Key To Kenya’s Electrification).