Kenya: Off-grid solar funding

Issue 426 - 05 Nov 2020 | 2 minute read

The Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (Kosap) has released KSh500m ($4.6m) to 19 companies to support wider use of solar and clean cooking technology in off-grid areas. The financing will support the establishment of standalone solar systems and clean cooking solutions for households in 14 counties that are underserved by the national electricity grid. The disbursement, announced on 19 October, is part of the ambitious five-year Kosap project supported by the World Bank with $150m.

Kosap is implemented by the Ministry of Energy, Kenya Power and the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation. The project was approved in 2017, with an envisaged closing date of June 2023. The financing and debt facilities are managed by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and SunFunder.

The funds will enable the companies to set up sales and after-sales infrastructure for standalone solar systems and modern cookstoves.

“This is a major milestone for us at the ministry and the government of Kenya. This project will enable us to provide standalone solar systems and clean cooking solutions for households in 14 counties that are currently underserved by the national grid, as a critical lever for achieving inclusion, a higher standard of living for our citizens, and overall socio-economic development,” said cabinet secretary in charge of energy Charles Keter.

The ministry said ten solar systems providers had received a total of KSh300m and would be expected to sell about 165,000 solar products in Turkana, West Pokot, Isiolo, Wajir, Garissa, Samburu, Marsabit, Isiolo, Tana River, Lamu, Kwale, Kilifi, Taita Taveta and Narok counties.

Nine clean cooking suppliers received the balance of KSh200m and are expected to sell about 85,000 stoves in West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu and Isiolo counties.

The solar beneficiaries are Greenlight Planet Kenya, Solibrium Ltd, Solar Integrated Appliances, Raju Shanga House, Azuri Technologies, d.light, LivelyHoods, BioLite Holdings, Mobisol Holdings and Pawame.

The clean cooking recipients are Rafode Renewable Energy, Solar Integrated Appliances, Raju Shanga House, MK Light Africa Right, LivelyHoods, BioLite Holdings, Africa Clean Energy and Kenya Women Finance Trust.

Kosap aims to supply 250,000 households with standalone solar systems and 150,000 with clean cooking solutions. The project also seeks to construct 157 mini-grids in the targeted counties that will connect about 61,500 households and about 473 public facilities, including secondary schools, health clinics and government administrative offices, with solar power. In addition, 380 boreholes that use diesel or other fossil fuels to power their pumps will be migrated to solar. According to the energy ministry, the facility’s solar component will have three additional phases where a total of KSh1.2bn will be disbursed to solar companies in order for the project to meet the target of 250,000,000 households served by standalone solar.

A further KSh3bn will be made available as short-term debt to the solar service providers to finance costs associated with product stocking and transit to Kenya until a sale is made. This model is expected to enable the providers to adopt flexible payment methods that will allow households to pay off the costs of their solar products over a period of time.

The government is extending financing to the selected companies as part of its efforts to achieve universal access to electricity by 2022 and universal access to clean cooking by 2028, under its Kenya National Electrification Strategy and Kenya Sustainable Energy for All Action Agenda. 

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