Voltalia and a consortium comprising Kenyan company Kenergy, Norway’s Scatec Solar, and the Norwegian Development Fund (Norfund) on 23 May 2018 signed 20 year power purchase agreements for two 40MW solar PV projects in Kenya. The long-awaited projects will supply electricity to national utility Kenya Power at 8c/kWh, a reduction of a third on the price of four solar projects awarded in June last year and in some cases cheaper than electricity from geothermal.

The solar industry in Kenya has had a difficult few years, with a strong pipeline of projects struggling to get off the ground due to elections, poor governance, and vested interests. However, the latest developments suggest that the sector is starting to move forwards again, albeit in an environment of increased cost sensitivity and a planned transition to auctions for solar projects.

Voltalia’s project is located at Kopere, on the border of Nandi and Kisumu counties. Voltalia chief executive Sébastien Clerc said that “this new project confirms our ambitions in Africa, a sun rich continent where a significant part of the population still has no or poor access to electricity. The project also underlines the benefits of Martifer Solar’s acquisition in order to reach our 2020 targets”. Voltalia acquired Martifer Solar, then the project developer for Kopere, in 2016.

Due to a technical issue with the shareholder structure Kenergy, Scatec, and Norfund’s Rumuruti project narrowly missed out on initialling a PPA with Kenya Power in 2016 alongside four 40MW projects – Frontier Energy’s European Investment Bank-backed Eldosol and Radiant projects; Malindi, which is now owned by Globeleq; and Alten’s Kesses project – which went on to sign PPAs in June 2017. Rumuruti is located in Laikipia county.

More to come in the next issue of African Energy on 31 May.

Find a power plant on our database and view the transmission network