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Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced to start of the construction work of a solar photovoltaic power plant in Kisumu. The 40 MWp Kisumu Solar One Park will be built in Kibos on 100 hectares of land donated by the government.
The Kenyan government has confirmed the solar plant implementation agreement with Ergon Solair Africa, the subsidiary of the US-based Ergon Solair PBC. The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) of Kenya issued the authorization for the construction of the 40 MWp plant to the US company in 2020.
The feasibility studies of the solar power plant were done in 2014. The project took a long time to take off as the investors of the project did not agree on the finer details of the agreement with the state-owned company Kenya Power. However, the President announced that the project has now received all the necessary approvals from the government and the investors were at liberty to launch the project work.
The Kisumu Solar One power plant will cost around Kshs 6.4 billion (US$53.6 million) and is expected to become operational by December 2023. The electricity produced by the solar PV plant will be sold to Kenya Power (KPLC) under a power purchase agreement. The plant will be connected to the national grid via a 220 kV substation located near it.
According to Ergon Solair, the Kisumu solar plant would generate 105.3 MWh of clean electricity during its first year of operation. The solar plant will meet the energy needs of at least 610,000 people in Kisumu county. The solar project will make Kisumu the first green city in Kenya.
According to President Uhuru, the government can no longer afford to pay the high tariffs that some of the electricity producers of Kenya continue to demand. The Kisumu solar plant is a part of the government’s measure to have the reduced cost of energy and improve the competitiveness in the energy sector.
“This project is part of the ongoing reforms in the energy sector which will position the country as a global leader not only in green energy but also in affordable energy,” Uhuru commented.
Kenya has an installed capacity of 2,819 MW, of which 749 MW of energy is produced from fossil fuels. The East African country is counting on the Kisumu solar power plant to diversify its electricity mix.