NAIROBI, Mar 14 – The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), has embarked on a project to create a sustainable energy supply which will lead to a reduction in the diesel fuel it uses.
Funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), to the tune of US$ 2.5 million (Sh254M), the scheme is part of the Greening of icipe Initiative.
In addition to renewable energy, the initiative includes energy saving and water conservation measures, with the aim of reducing the Centre’s carbon footprint and making its environment more eco-friendly.
“Our goal is to reduce diesel fuel dependency by constructing solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants at Duduville Campus headquarters in Kasarani, Nairobi, and at the icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus on the shores of Lake Victoria,” says icipe Director General, Dr Segenet Kelemu.
The design and construction of the solar PV plants, expected to be ready for commissioning in late 2016, will be undertaken by Solar Century East Africa, which has been awarded the contract through a rigorous, international selection process.
A total of 4130 PV modules will be installed on rooftops on both icipe campuses, creating the largest rooftop solar PV plant in Kenya.
Photovoltaic modules placed on roofs have various advantages, for instance, better use of available space and natural cooling of the spaces underneath. Another 228 PV modules fixed on various facades, such as carports.
The solar PV plants will have a combined generating capacity of 1154 kiloWatt peak (kWp), which is equivalent to the power required to light 750 homes in a middle class Nairobi estate.
To ensure that the solar energy is generated and used in the most optimum manner, an ‘intelligent system’, which will enable energy interchange between the solar systems and the national electricity grid, will be installed, with the grid serving as a virtual battery storage.
“We are always keen to partner with institutions that want to improve the sustainability of their operations. We are excited at this opportunity, which enables us to collaborate with icipe, whose mission of safeguarding the environment aligns with our own mission of alleviating the impacts of climate change, and to enhance our growing portfolio of solar systems installations in Kenya,” noted Guy Lawrence, Director, Solar Century in East Africa.
“The SDC has been a long term partner of icipe, helping to achieve significant progress in improving the livelihoods of communities across Africa. We are now extremely proud to support the Centre in its current mission of greening its operations,” commented Guinand Yves, Senior Thematic Advisor Rural Development, SDC.
“Globally, incorporating ‘greening’ measures into operations is becoming more and more critical, especially as an enabling act of sustainable development. The Greening of icipe Initiative is therefore commendable and it will hopefully serve as a worthwhile example for other institutions,” noted Ambassador Dr. Ralf Heckner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.