Kenya’s KOSAP Initiative to Bring Electricity Access to Remote Areas Through 136 Solar Mini-grids


The Kenyan Government has initiated the steps for the construction of 136 solar mini-grids in several remote areas of the country.


The solar mini-grid development is being carried out under the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP), an initiative financed by the World Bank (WB) which approved an International Development Association’s credit of $150 million back in 2017.


Under the KOSAP, 136 solar mini-grids will be constructed in 14 counties of Kenya. The locations of these mini-grids were published in the official gazette in April last year. The Kenyan authorities are currently undergoing the land acquisition process, under the guidance of the National Land Commission.


The off-grid solar power project is spearheaded by start-up companies. Upon completion, the solar mini-grids will provide electricity access to approximately 277,000 households, covering nearly 1.5 million people. The green mini-grids will electrify 567 public facilities, including schools, healthcare facilities, and government offices, along with powering several water pumps.

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Davis Chirchir, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, said the country has deployed mini-grids to serve communities that are not connected to the national power grid. Currently, the country has around 62 solar mini-grids that are fully functional and another 28 which are under construction. The government looks forward to deploying more mini-grids to ensure universal access to electricity by 2030.

The KOSAP faced several challenges that disrupted the project’s rollout since its funding. Some of these challenges include the high cost of products, the low power purchasing capacity of the people, several renewable energy companies being apprehensive to work in rural regions, and so on.

Gabriela Elizondo Azuela, Manager of the WB’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), said, Africa has the highest potential for solar mini-grid deployment. The solar mini-grid projects have the potential to transform the power sector in Sub-Saharan Africa and ESMAP is helping the continent take mini-grids from a niche to a mainstream solution.

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