Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) is set to venture into solar power – in a bid to capitalize on the accelerated switch to solar by households and industrial operations in Kenya.
Many consumers have sought to install solar to avoid high power costs by KPLC as well as constant black-outs. Now, the state-owned firm is keen on getting a piece of the pie.
The company is reportedly planning to partner with private firms to have solar panels installed on customers’ rooftops, in a design-build-finance and operate (DBFO) model. Notably, the panels will remain the property of Kenya Power and the private firms they partner with.
“KPLC will undertake the role of project development by liaising with interested commercial and industrial customers who will provide rooftop space or ground space for installation of the PV (photovoltaic) modules.
“A private sector investor will then be selected competitively through a request for proposal (RFP) to develop and operate the grid tied captive solar plants at the customer premises,” internal documents from the firm read in part.
KPLC expects to sell power generated from the solar panels at discounted rates to the owners of homes and commercial premises hosting the premises.
Excess electricity would be distributed to homes and premises adjacent to the panels.
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“Consumers will benefit from cheaper solar energy generated during sunny hours… The solar plants will include storage with minimum autonomy to cancel out effect of short-duration supply interruptions which has been a major cause of concern among some commercial and industrial customers,” the documents disclosed.
Major firms and home-owners have been responsible for the increase in Kenya Power customers seeking to generate their own power for various reasons.
Stringent draft regulations introduced by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) in November 2020 sparked widespread outrage, with many perceiving them as a move to curb the meteoric uptake of solar energy by Kenyan consumers.
In January, EABL subsidiaries Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL) and East Africa Maltings became the latest major companies to seek regulatory approval to generate their own power at two plants in Nairobi and Kisumu.
Kenya Breweries Limited expects to generate 9.3 Megawatts at its Ruaraka plant in Nairobi and 2.4 Megawatts from a solar plant in Kisumu.
East African Maltings, on the other hand, plans to generate 2.2 Megawatts of electricity from a KVA generator at its Kampala Road plant.