United States Trade Development Agency (USTDA) has granted KenGen a grant to fund a feasibility study for the 10 megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant that will be implemented in Gitaru. The first phase of the project will be a 10MW photovoltaic plant with the scope to scale up to 40MW. The feasibility study will evaluate the technical and economic viability of the project and provide the data and analysis required to advance the development and financing of the solar power plant.
Location of the plant will be near the state’s firm 225MW Gitaru hydroelectric power station. The grantee (KenGen) has invited submission of proposals from interested U.S. firms that are qualified on the basis of experience and capability to perform the feasibility study.
The grant falls under the Obama Power Intiative program launched in 2013 with the objective to add 10,000MW of power and supply electricity to 20 million African households within five years.
KenGen intends to invest heavily on renewable energy projects after holding a successful rights issue. The power generator raised KES6.4 billion and it plans to finance other major solar and hydro power station projects. The solar power stations will be located in Turkwel and Kwale.
The company has also been collecting data in Malindi, Lamu, Marsabit and Turkwel, and in their existing hydro-plants as well as monitoring progress in the cost of the technology on generational power using solar. From the monitoring process, KenGen observes that over the last five years the cost of generating electricity using solar has witnessed a marked decrease, and it will soon partner with other development agencies towards the realization of usage of solar technology to produce power.
Completion of the solar projects will reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions per year as an alternative to fossil fuel power sources.
Other projects the power generator is undertaking is a 40MW solar PV power plant in Eastern Kenya at Nyakwere hills and a Solar Microgrid Solution for Island and village electrification at eight locations in the country with a combined power generation capacity of 1.5MW.
Also in the pipeline is the development of a 70MW geothermal plant in Olkaria, Meru Wind Power and Lamu Gas power project, which is projected to add 50-200MW of power.