ESI AFRICA - The long awaited construction of East Africa’s largest solar power plant in northern Kenya is set to commence as Kenya Power agrees to a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement.

Power plant developer, Rural Electrification Authority (REA), announced last week that it has concluded a PPA with Kenya Power to sell electricity generated from the solar farm at $0.12/kWh.

According to the Daily Nation, REA chairman Simon Gicharu made the announcement when he attended a meeting in Nairobi with officials from China who will be funding the solar project.

It is reported that China Jiangxi is the contractor of the project and will be backed by $135.7 million loan from China’s Exim Bank.

Gicharu said: “Construction will start anytime from now after we signed a 25-year PPA with Kenya Power on Wednesday.”

The 55MW solar farm in the north eastern town of Garissa County will be connected to the national grid and is anticipated to produce enough power to light up 625,000 homes.

Solar farm project delayed

In Q1 2016, REA had announced that construction of the plant would start in July but the project suffered delays, partly because of prolonged talks for the PPA with Kenya Power, media reported.

The solar farm will sit on 85-hectares of land with 200,200 solar panels and is expected to be the largest in East and Central Africa.

The plant is expected to cut Kenya’s carbon emissions by approximately 43,000 tonnes per year for trading in the global carbon market.

Additionally, Gicharu said the project would also help the country create employment opportunities offering at least 1,000 jobs.

“We are setting up a mini-city in the middle of a desert with over 1,000 workers, meaning we are opening up that place,” he said.

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