Construction of Kenya’s first scale solar PV panel will commence in the next two weeks, Rural Electrification Authority has cited. Located in Garissa County, the 50MW solar plant will be built on 81 hectares of land and will generate around 76,473 MWh of energy annually to power 625,00 households.

The project is part of Kenya’s wider plan to ensure universal access to electricity by 2020.
In a published post, REA’s chairman, Simon Gicharu said “The bottleneck problems that have been halting the project have now been solved, and that work on the facility will be completed within the next 12 months.”

The Authority will set up 210,210 solar panels of 260 Watts each, thus reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 43,000 metric tons per year. The project worth Kshs 12.8 bn will be financed through concessional funding from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and Kenya.

Chinese company China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic & Technical Co, Ltd. (CJIC) is the project developer, signed a module supply agreement in September 2012 with Jinko Solar. Under the terms of the agreement, Jinko was contracted as preferred module supplier to provide technical support.

Upon completion, the solar plant will be the biggest in the East and Central Africa and is expected to create thousands of jobs estimated to be over 1,000.

Meanwhile, REA signed a 25 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Kenya Power to sell electricity from the plant at Sh12 ($0.12) per kilowatt hour (kWh) – about Sh8 cheaper than diesel-generated power.

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