French firm to build 40MW solar plant in Eldoret - Daily Nation

French firm to build 40MW solar plant in Eldoret

Sunday January 6 2019

solar panels

A worker installs solar panels at a construction site in Kenya. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By BRIAN NGUGI
More by this Author

Kenya-based French solar firm Alten Africa has picked compatriot renewable energy firm Voltalia to build its 40-megawatt (MW) solar plant in Eldoret.

Alten said Voltalia it already started construction at the Uasin Gishu project last December.

“Alten Africa ratifies the choice of Voltalia to execute the EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) and O & M (operations, and plant maintenance) service for its new photovoltaic plant in Kenya,” said Alten in a statement.

“The plant, located in Uasin Gishu, in the municipality of Eldoret, will have 40MW installed capacity, accounting for two percent of the country’s total capacity,” said.

Alten said it has already informed electricity distributor Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC of its choice of the French Voltalia to carry out the construction and operation and maintenance service on the plant.

“This solar project is to be built on a land area of 100 hectares and will have over 161,000 monocrystalline panels set into solar single-axis trackers,” said Alten.

“Once it goes into commercial operation, scheduled for March 2020, approximately 123.6GWh of clean electricity will be injected every year into the electric network, enough to meet the annual energy consumption needs of over 824,000 Kenyans.”

The Kesses power plant will add to the many electricity projects that have been started or are planned as the country races to raise output to 5,000MW and cut the cost of electricity to consumers by half.

“The new photovoltaic plant will produce an estimated total of 123.6 GWh / year. It will be Alten Africa’s first utility scale project in Kenya and one of the largest solar power stations in East Africa,” said Alten.

The government targets universal electricity access by 2020, up from 70 percent in 2017. Alten earlier in May 2018 inked a power purchase deal with Kenya Power for another 50-megawatt solar project located in Kopere, Nandi County.

The two solar projects rival Rural Electrification Authority (REA) East Africa’s largest solar power plant being developed in northern Kenya.

REA earlier said its completion, earlier set for December, would boost the manufacturing sector — one of the four pillars of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s economic revival strategy.