New policy to spur clean energy investments - Daily Nation

New policy to spur clean energy investments

Wednesday September 16 2015

British High Commissioner Christian Turner

British High Commissioner Christian Turner (centre) with SolarCentury hybrid power systems director Daniel Davis (right) and John Cusack of Solar Africa at the launch of Africa's largest solar carport system at the Garden City Mall on September 15, 2015. DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By JAMES KARIUKI
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Investors seeking clean energy ventures stand to reap big following the formulation of a feed-in-tariff policy guaranteeing sale of power to the national grid.

Energy Permanent Secretary Joseph Njoroge said this was aimed at encouraging investments in renewable energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and small hydro power sources.

“Under this policy, Kenya Power is supposed to sign long term power purchase agreements with investors. The policy aims at attracting investments in electricity generation from renewable energy sources where investors enjoy investment security and market stability for investors,” he said.

The PS spoke when he switched on the Africa’s largest solar carport installed at Garden City mall to power its escalators, light up businesses as well as power energy needs for its planned 550 urban homes to be constructed within its 32 acre multiple user facility that is owned by equity fund, Actis Kenya.

Actis Kenya director Mr Koome Gikunda said Garden City mall was committed to reducing its energy bill adding that SolarAfrica’s partnership with SolarCentury had helped them realize their vision of installing a 858kw capacity solar powered car port system.

Mr Gikunda described the investment as cost effective since it will be paid for based on the power produced and ‘sold’ to tenants for the next 12 years.

SolarAfrica will operate and maintain the system for 12 years during which it will provide guarantees covering power and equipment performance.

SolarAfrica’s founder and chief executive James Irons said their financing model ensured that clients enjoyed affordable solar power where companies hardly pay upfront fees to design, procure and install the system.

FINANCIALLY VIABLE

SolarAfrica partnered with SolarCentury who designed and installed the Garden City solar carport system and has promised to provide technical support services for the next 12 years.

Mr Irons urged more Kenyan companies to seek energy efficient and cost-friendly models by embracing solar energy saying they would help on designing and implementation of the projects adding that private sector investment in carbon mitigation projects was financially viable.

The solar carport system has been designed using solar hybrid technology where the solar carport generates electricity during the day and should the grid go down, the hybrid technology enables the carport to run in tandem with the diesel generator while at night, the mall can switch to either grid energy, or a backup diesel generator.

At the same time, the PS said that 1,392 institutions have received solar PV systems with a combined installed capacity of 2.15MW at a total cost of Sh 3 billion.

He said that plans were at an advanced stage to do additional installations in a further 100 institutions, as well as undertake maintenance in 200 institutions which were done in early years.

“The Rural Electrification Authority is about to complete connections of all primary schools to the national grid where 3,437 schools have been supplied with solar PV,” he said.

Garden City, worth Sh 56.7billion, is East Africa’s first integrated residential, retail and office development currently under development.