, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17- Green Energy Africa (GEA), a local social enterprise now plans to set up a 40megawatt (MW) solar plant in Kajiado County before the end of this year.
Founder and CEO Edwin Kinyatti says the project which will be on a 160 acre piece of land is however awaiting approvals by the government through the Ministry of Energy.
“To produce 1MW, we will need four acres of land. So we want to do 40MW in the whole farm. We have already sent EOIs (Express of Interest) to the ministry and we are waiting for the documentation. The investor is already on board,” Kinyatti said during an interview with Capital FM Business.
The project, to be one of the biggest solar plants in Eastern Africa is expected to cost approximately Sh3billion.
Apart from providing electricity, which will be connected to the national grid, Kinyatti says the company plans to make it a tourist attraction site.
“You can imagine a 160 acre piece of land filled with solar panels. I mean, people will learn a lot. When you are up there in the sky, you would think it’s an ocean. This is the way to go because other countries are doing it,” he adds.
Green Energy Africa was established in 2010, but Kinyatti says most of projects started in September last with main focus being on providing renewable power solutions to rural communities in the country.
The project dubbed Women and Entrepreneurship in Renewable Energy Project (WEREP) has so far managed to provide solar panels, accompanied by lamps and other solar equipment to over 2,000 homes since September last year in Kajiado and Makueni Counties.
He says the program which was started by default, is targeting to cover all the counties with renewable energy solutions by the year 2020 and compliment other power project being carried out by the government.
“I remember it was in 2010 and my two partners and I were driving through Kajiado. Then our car broke down in the middle of nowhere. So we were forced to walk for like 15 kilometres to seek for help and the first house we entered is where our idea came from. The children were using tin lamp to study and one could notice the impact on their eyes,” he recalls.
Besides putting the solar panels on top of their houses, most women, “carry their solar panels when with their donkeys when going to fetch water or when moving houses.”
Some of the financial partners in the project include the Embassy of Sweden, UKAid among others.
Other existing solar power plants in the country are at Strathmore University (600KW), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters (500 KW) and Williamson Tea Factory (1 MW).
Kenya sits on the Equator making it a country that has the sun the whole year, but has less than 2 percent of solar power installations.