UK to invest in solar plants in Kenya

Jack Unwin 15 March 2019 (Last Updated March 15th, 2019 12:21)

The UK Government has announced it will invest in two new solar plants in Kenya as part of the Transforming Energy Access programme.

UK to invest in solar plants in Kenya
IEEFA warn that the UK government’s solar policy is impeding its potential. Credit: Kimco Realty.

The UK Government has announced it will invest in two new solar plants in Kenya as part of the Department for International Development’s Transforming Energy Access programme.

The department said it will work with private infrastructure development group InfraCo to invest $2.2m (£1.66m) in two plants in Samburu and Transmara, with a capacity of 10MW each. The two parties will also look to see if these projects would be viable for a power purchase agreement (PPA) in Kenyan shillings, making it one of the first PPAs in sub-Saharan Africa to be negotiated in the local currency.

Minister for Africa Harriet Baldwin said: “Transforming Energy Access is using the UK’s expertise in technology and finance to provide power for people across Africa and tackle one of the world’s biggest challenges, climate change.

“The UK government’s investment in clean energy and waste reduction for people and businesses will help millions of people across Africa. It’s a win for the developing world and a win for the UK.”

The Transforming Energy Access programme supports early-stage testing for easy access to clean energy for housing and business. The programme has allowed businesses in Africa to cut carbon emissions by two million tonnes and helped to obtain $359m of investment from the public and private sectors.

In 2018 the Kenyan Government announced its intention to achieve universal electricity access by 2022 through on-grid, off-grid and small-scale solutions, and these schemes will help demonstrate that small-scale plants are commercially viable.

Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry previously announced £100m in funding for renewable products in sub-Saharan Africa in December, under the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP).