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Western Kenya’s solar minigrids – a rural electricity solution

A solar minigrid for 100 villages in Western Kenya, Clean Leap by    DAVID KARIUKI  Mar 19th 2016, Scalable solar mini grids will continue to play a major role in the rural electrification agenda in developing countries in the future. This will be fueled by the increased entry of private players into the field, and the change of regulations in respect to generation and supply of power from scalable mini grid solutions. These two are already being witnessed in Kenya. This year, Kenya is witnessing a major solar micro-grid project expected to demonstrate exactly how these power solutions can fit in rural electrification agenda now that the country is targeting 100% electricity access by 2030. The project is notable as it marks the first scalable community micro grid project since last year’s granting of the first utility concession for off-grid power supply…….

solar minigrid
The project, which is an investment between U.S-based Powerhive and Enel Green Power (EGP) seeks to build and develop solar mini-grids in 100 villages in the Western part of Kenya, in the counties of Kisii and Nyamira. The solar mini grids will have an installed capacity of 1MW and will bring clean power to households, small businesses, schools, and healthcare centers and serve a total of 90,000 people. The micro-grids will be powered by First Solar’s solar PV technology and operated with Powerhive’s control technology. Francesco Venturini, CEO of EGP indicated the micro grid rural electricification solution will be linked with advanced mobile payment or billing systems, meaning it will adopt a mobile phone prepayment application. The system will use solar power panels, battery storage, and local distribution facilities……….
In conclusion, micro grids will play a major role in developing country’s rural electrification agenda as regulators make it easy for their penetration. At the same time, this will be accelerated by the entry of more private companies into the field. American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a non-profit membership organization that provides a common educational platform for the renewable energy community, said energy regulators in this region need to seek electricity distribution concessionssince concessions incentivize suppliers and make projects bankable for purposes of expanding them. Regulators also, according to ACORE, can establish cost-reflective tariffs as opposed to fixed tariffs that limit rural electrification by putting a price ceiling. In addition, they need to boost private financing by offering investors risk-reflective rates of return, planning for future by prioritizing preference to appliance-compatible systems that support economic activities and systems that have potential to grow over time, as well as streamline regulations in the energy sector.  http://cleanleap.com/solar-minigrid-100-villages-western-kenya
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April 20, 2016 - Posted by | decentralised, Kenya

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