Kenya recently laid out an ambitious plans to construct nine solar power plants at a cost of $1.2 billion, with the hope that they will provide more than half the country’s electricity by 2016. The country’s government put up half of the investment money, while private partners contributed the rest. Initial design stages of this impressive undertaking are almost complete, and construction is expected to begin before the end of the year.
Cliff Owiti, a senior administrator at the Kenya Renewable Energy Association, talked about how solar compares with alternative energy sources. “The costs related with hydro electricity are very high, considering they are influenced by the low water levels in major supply dams,” he said. “With high investments in solar, we will witness almost no blackouts and power charges will reduce because electricity will be in high supply.”
Previous signs that solar power has a bright future in Kenya include the construction of a factory that opened here in 2011, and is now responsible for the manufacturing of solar energy panels. As reported by The Guardian, Germano Mwabu, an economics professor at the University of Nairobi, said the solar plan could have a dramatic impact on energy prices. “When the project is complete and solar is in good use, electricity costs could go down by as much as 80%.”
Kenya ranks 22nd in Africa for the amount of electricity it generates, and 46th in the world in the generation of solar energy. But it could rank third for solar in the next four years, according to figures from the Energy Regulatory Commission, a government agency.
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