Kenyan University sets shining example by switching on Sh17M solar plant to generate own electricity

The 100 kilowatt (KW) solar plant is located at the university’s main campus at an estimated Sh17 million.

Kenyatta University has switched on the first phase of a Sh1.7 billion solar plant that will see the institution generate its own electricity and offload excess power onto the national grid.

Speaking after commissioning the plant, Energy and Petroleum secretary Charles Keter said the plant would go a long way in achieving the country’s universal electrification by 2020 not to mention provide jobs by opening new fields for specialization.

“Considering the huge investments in solar industry, we will require trained human resource to operate and maintain these systems, as well as innovate on delivery of better models,” said Mr Keter.

Kenya has in recent years invested heavily in diversifying its energy sources in a bid to be energy reliant and is currently the leader in the continent when it comes to renewable energy.

The country's first large-scale solar park become a reality mid this year after two firms received grants from former US President Barack Obama initiative.

Mr. Keter also took time to thank development partners such as the French government which provided substantial funding for the project.

“We have total commitments amounting to Sh50.16 billion for financing the last mile connectivity project and Sh150 billion in commitments for electrifying off-grid areas. With support of development partners, we will achieve our objective of universal electrification by 2020,”

The French Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Nicholas Hulot, who was present during the launch, said the French government would continuously support efforts aimed at promotion of renewable energy generation, which is the core of the Paris agreement on climate change.

“I want to let the Kenyan authorities know that the French government will support these ambitious choices and that French companies have the expertise to bring innovative solutions to meet these needs, as we have successfully demonstrated here today with Urbasolar,” said Mr Hulot.

Phase one of the plant was developed by France-based solar panels manufacturer Urbasolar through funding from the French government.

The 100 kilowatt (KW) solar plant which is located at the university’s main campus off Thika Road, cost an estimated Sh17 million.

The extra power produced in phase two will be connected to the national grid and help the institution generate extra revenue despite the university not providing figures on the amount it expects to save from generating its own electricity.

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