NAIROBI, — The Kenyan government plans to construct 25 mini solar plants in parts of the north east and in the Rift Valley to expand access to electricity for people in these isolated areas, says Energy Cabinet Secretary (Minister) Charles Keter.
The solar power plants will help reduce by seven times the retail cost of electricity in these areas from the current 35 US cents to five cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).
Dry weather patterns experienced late last year and early this year have adversely affected electricity generation from cheap hydro sources, forcing generating companies to opt for the expensive diesel generators.
The government is seeking to leverage renewable energy, including solar power, to cushion Kenyans against the high costsof electricity by constructing mini solar-plants especially in far flung areas.
The Rural Electrification Authority is currently constructing 25 solar mini-grids to power small towns in off-grid areas such as Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit and Turkana.
This is in addition to the already commissioned four solar mini-grids, which are expected to reduce the retail cost of electricity from the current 35 cents per kWh to five cents.
Meanwhile, the 13 billion shillings (about 128 million US dollars) Garissa solar plant will be officially launched in September this year and is expected to inject an additional 54 megawatts (MW) of power to the national grid, which is enough to serve about 200,000 households.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK