Kenya has just acquired a solar power plant. It is located in Mbalambala, in Garissa County in eastern Kenya. The plant was recently inaugurated in the presence of the Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and the authorities of Garissa County. The solar photovoltaic plant was built by the China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Co-operation (CJIC).
The plant consists of 200,200 solar panels connected to inverters and installed on an area of 85 hectares. The entire system produces 50 MWp. “I am very proud that the project has been successfully completed and is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. We hope it will serve Kenya for the next 25 years,” says Zhang Jian, representative of CJIC in Kenya.
The project was developed by the Kenya Rural Electrification Authority. This public institution has signed a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power (KPLC), the company that provides the electricity utility. Under the contract, KPLC will purchase a kWh of electricity at 12 shillings ($0.12), which is 8 shillings ($0.07) less than electricity generated from diesel, the main source of power in Garissa County.
The solar power plant, which is connected to the grid, is expected to supply 70,000 households in Garissa, or about 350,000 people. This represents almost half of the county’s population. The project required an investment of $13 billion, or just over $128.5 million. The Kenya Rural Electrification Authority relied on funding from Exim Bank of China to build the Garissa Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant.