Solar Panel kenya companies photo


Shifting to solar power systems by heavy-consuming industrialists seeking reliable and cheaper supply makes electricity distributor Kenya Power(KPLC) management scratch their heads as revenues shrink.

The service firm said some of its industrial customers who account for about 54.8% of its sales revenues are turning to own-generated solar power increasing the existing loss-making monopoly.

“The company operated in a challenging environment over the financial year under review, where demand growth at 3.7% remained below the projected level of 5%. The dampened demand growth is further compounded with the increased threats of grid defection by the industrial category as decentralised renewable energy options are becoming more available and cheaper," Kenya Power reported in its latest annual report.

The company made Sh63 billion from the industrial customers who bought 4,462 Gigawatt hours in the year to June 2019, representing 45% of its cumulative revenue.

Power generation passed a record one billion kilowatt-hours in October adding financial pressure on the distributor, which is already paying for large volumes of idle electricity.

Kenya Power beetles the latest growth in demand to remain at approximately 2.3 per cent in 2020, which is lower opposed to the historical 10-year norm of 5.9 per cent.

Numerous companies, universities and factories switched to solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-tied systems to supply power for internal use to ensure reliable supply and reduced operational costs.

Big power customers such as Africa Logistics Properties (ALP), Mombasa International Airport, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) have newly commissioned solar power units on their properties.

In September 2018, ALP fitted a 506-kilowatt peak (kWp) hybrid solar PV to save Sh12 million per year.

In the similar month, ICIPE approved its $2.5 million (Sh273.5 million) two solar PV power plants located in Kasarani, Nairobi, and on the shores of Lake Victoria with combined generating capacity of 1,156 kWp.

Moi International Airport in Mombasa set to fit a 500 KW solar PV system to produce 820,000 kWh per year and offset 1,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

The Nairobi Garden City Mall installed a $1.9 million (Sh207.8 million) solar carport to generate 1,256 megawatt-hours annually from the 3,300 solar panels to cut power bills by Sh31.6 million yearly.

London Distillers Ltd invested 1 MWp roof solar system in Athi River, to save at least Sh18.4 million yearly over the system lifespan of 25 years.

Williamson Tea installed 1MW solar farm in Changoi area to cut cost by one third.

In December 2018, Kenyatta University turned to Sh1.7 billion solar plant to produce its electricity and offload excess power to the national grid.

In 2014, Strathmore University introduced 600 KW rooftop PV solar plant, part of it sold to the national grid.

The university estimated the cash savings from the project at between Sh18 million and Sh24 million annually.

Numerous companies like Kapa Oil Refineries set to install a 1.5 megawatts (MW) PV grid-tied system for internal use.

Official data issued last year revealed that 2.3 million households used solar for lighting, representing about 19.3% of the cumulative homes.

The 2019 census report indicated that solar lighting uptake in homes at 19.3%.

Rural areas recorded above 29.9 per cent, higher than the rural national grid connections that stood at 26 per cent.

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