According to the Cabinet Secretary for energy and petroleum Charles Keter, the solar power project – expected to be the largest in Africa – will advance green agenda and inclusive development in the country.
“The solar project will transform the lives of Kenyans. It will create green jobs, and expand access to power to regions that are off grid and contribute to lowering of carbon emissions,” Mr Keter said.
The 200-acre plant will produce 76,470 megawatts hours a year – enough to power 625,000 homes, while slashing carbon emissions by 64,190 tonnes a year and saving coal consumption by 24,470 tonnes annually.
The project, which is backed by a Sh13.6 billion loan from China’s Exim Bank, will sit on 85-hectares of land and will comprise 200,200 solar panels.
The project comes at a time when Kenya is aggressively seeking alternative power sources to supplement unreliable hydro-power and expensive diesel-generated thermal power.
In October 2012, Chinese photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer JinkoSolar Holdings announced that it had signed a deal with CJIC to supply photovoltaic modules for the solar park.
The NYSE-listed firm said it would offer technical support and installation of the modules at the plant.
“By cooperating with CJIC, we expect this project will provide JinkoSolar with future opportunities in Kenya’s solar power plant industry,” the firm said in a statement.
Chinese solar giants are increasingly looking to emerging markets in Africa as they contend with not only a weak market, but also higher anti-dumping tariffs in the United States and Europe.