Kenyan tea producers are looking up at solar power to bring them a smooth supply of energy required for their factory operations, in the face of insufficient hydropower resources. To meet this clean energy requirement, a subsidiary of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA), KTDA Power Company (KTPC) Ltd. has invited expression of interest (EOI) for solar PV power generation plants as independent power producers (IPP).
KTPC develops and manages renewable energy solutions for KTDA managed tea factories through their respective regional power companies.
The tender follows a study conducted by KTPC for 29 tea factories to ascertain solar PV potential for these facilities, concluding that all factories studied have sufficient energy demand and solar resources to develop a financially and technically viable PV project. The study was funded through a grant from the united States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).
Selected IPPs will design, procure, construct, finance and operate the solar power plants. Every factory will enter a power purchase agreement (PPA) to procure this clean energy for its operations.
The IPP solar PV projects will each have a capacity ranging from 300 kW to 1 MW with or without energy storage, which would vary from factory to factory with the mean capacity of about 500 kW. According to the KTPC estimates, a typical factory with an installed solar PV capacity of 600 kW can have an annual day time demand of 1,594,172 kWh, representing about 50% of the total demand.
Land for the projects will either be provided by the factory free of charge for the IPP or leased for the PPA term.
KTPC said it wants to aggregate between 5 and 10 projects to be developed by the successful IPP with each project to be developed at each respective factory since the ‘aggregation aims to promote economies of scale’.
Last date to submit bids is March 30, 2021. Tender details are available on KTDA website.
Under its long term strategy, KTDA previously stated it wants to ensure that tea growing regions have access to alternative renewable forms of energy that can bring down operational costs in factories, since energy costs account for about 30% of the operation costs in tea factories with electricity alone accounting for 17%.
Earlier, France’s Proparco financed the construction of 7 small scale run-of-river hydropower plants to supply generated power to 24 factories managed by KTDA which would be connected to the grid.