Kenya’s government has identified a number of sites where it could develop solar farms – which it said could provide more than half of the country’s electricity needs by 2016.
The Kenya Renewable Energy Association, together with the government and a number of private companies, has said there are nine sites suitable for solar farm development.
The plan would see $1.2 billion (£730 million) invested in order for Kenya to get more than half of its electricity from solar panels by 2016. The government is set to fund 50% of the project.
Kenya – which is one of the countries with the highest risk from climate extremes – currently gets most of its electricity from hydropower but the photovoltaic sector is rapidly expanding.
Cliff Owiti, Kenya Renewable Energy Association’s senior administrator, said, “We hope that when the entire project is completed by 2016, more than 50% of Kenya’s energy production will consist of solar. Already we are witnessing solar investments in Kenya such as a factory that was opened here in 2011 that manufactures solar energy panels.
“The costs related with hydro electricity are very high, considering they are influenced by the low water levels in major supply dams. With high investments in solar, we will witness almost no blackouts and power charges will reduce because electricity will be in high supply.”
Kenya is the largest producer of geothermal energy in Africa and has plans to build the biggest wind farm on the continent, the 365-turbine Lake Turkana Wind Power consortium (LTWP), which will be the largest single private investment in the country and could generate thousands of jobs.