, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 19 – The Kenya off-grid solar access project has been launched through a partnership between World Bank, Ministry of Energy, Kenya Power and Lightning Company (KPLC) and Rural Electricity Authority (REA).
The US$150 Million project will see 14 underserved counties receive modern energy services through the mini-grid system. The project has also gotten an additional US$5 million from the Carbon Initiative for Development (Ci-Dev) donors.
Apart from the mini-grids, other components of the project include solar home systems and cooking solutions for households, Standalone solar systems and solar pumping for community facilities and Implementation support and capacity building. Currently, there are 20 government-developed mini-grid stations owned by REA and managed by KPLC.
Energy Principal Secretary Engineer Joseph Njoroge says the project is expected to benefit 690,000 households by 2020.
“The beneficiaries are located in 14 counties deemed marginalized by the Commission of Revenue Allocation and consists primarily of relatively cash-poor, remote and pastoralist communities. Therefore, provision of infrastructure facilities, energy and water will have profound socio-economic impact on these communities,” Njoroge said.
Kenya currently has over 6.2 million customers connected to electricity.
Njoroge says that the government plans to connect 1.17 million Kenyans with power in the 2017/2018 financial year, about 1.15 million more in the 2018/2019 financial year and 2.2 million other connections in 2019/2020.
“This project is part of a comprehensive sector engagement in Kenya spanning all areas of sector value chain. Currently, our portfolio is about US$2 billion and about US$400 million in guarantees,” World Bank’s Practice Manager, Global Energy and Extractives Practice Africa Region Sudeshna Banerjee said.
Overall, Kenya plans to achieve universal access in another four years where 95 percent of its population will have access to electricity. Should it achieve such a feat, it will join countries such as Algeria, Mauritius and the Seychelles.