Solar Panel Project to Light Up Schools
Jan 05, 2010
- Business Daily - All Africa Global Media
Two private companies have been
commissioned to install solar panels in 117 schools and health centres in arid
and semi arid regions in a move geared to reduce Kenya's reliance on hydro-generated
electricity and lower the cost of energy to poor communities.
Limited and Go Solar Limited have been awarded a Sh273.6 million tender to install,
test and commission solar panels in schools and health centres that have never
had power and which are to be used as test grounds for the eventual use of solar
energy across the country.
"This project is specifically for regions that
are far off the national power grid" said Mr Patrick Nyoike, the permanent secretary
in the Ministry of Energy. Mr Nyoike, however, said the pilot project will not
be extended to other facilities in urban centres. "This project is for affirmative
action to ensure the arid and semi arid regions are also included in the development
agenda," the PS said in an interview with Business Daily.
set aside Sh500 million in the 2009/2010 budget to light up isolated regions such
as North Eastern province.
The regions have sunshine through out the year
and could be Domestic consumersused as a test case to eventually roll out the
use of solar power across the country.
"This project is one of the success
stories of the rural electrification programmes," said Mr Nyoike. The project
comes barely four months after Prime Minister Raila Odinga appointed a team to
fast-track the expansion of the generation and use of clean and renewable sources
of energy such as solar, wind and biogas.
plans to commission the national use of clean energy by 2012 that will help install
an additional power generation capacity of 2,000MW as the country expects demand
for electricity to pick up with the economic recovery early next year, putting
the current supply levels under serious strain. The task force will investigate
and recommend measures to speed up the construction and commissioning of the accelerated
green energy programme by June 2012. The UN says Kenya can reduce the cost of
energy to manufacturers and domestic consumers if it tapped into solar and wind
energy in its vast and dry northern regions.
According to the UN, Kenya
has the capacity to generate more than 3,000 MW of electricity if it tapped into
wind and solar energy in its vast northern districts. The utilization of clean
energy could help inject additional power to the national grid to assuage the
fears of the manufacturing sector and potential investors who have grown cold
feet in putting their money in Kenya. Manufacturers have blamed the high cost
of locally produced goods on the expensive electricity tariffs.
avoid irregular electricity supplies if it tapped into clean energy. A power crisis
that hit the country between August and October last year affected production
and was blamed on inadequate rainfall and failure to implement planned generation
projects on schedule.
The increased generation
of additional power could spur the manufacturing sector which could be left to
utilise the current supply installation with the solar generated power left to
Last year, the Africa Development Bank (ADB) injected
Sh32 billion into a private consortium to develop an initial 300MW from wind energy
in Turkana district -- equal to around 25 per cent Kenya's current installed energy
capacity. This follows the Government's introduction of new legislation covering
Kenya obtains more than 75 per cent of its power
from hydro. The country's only existing source of renewable energy is the geothermal
power, which however has not been exploited to its maximum. For example, while
Kenya has geothermal potential to produce 3,000MW of electricity, geothermal sources
account for only 11 per cent of the country's approximate 1150MW existing capacity.