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Kenya’s first net metered PV project to be inaugurated

Construction on Kenya’s first net metered photovoltaic plant has been completed. Described as the third biggest system of its kind in East Africa, the project was the result of a German-Kenyan collaboration.
The German firm Asantys Systems GmbH has built East Africa's third-largest solar facility together with the Kenyan firm African Solar Designs Ltd. The facility has been installed in the Mombasa SOS Children's Village, and has recently begun producing power. The companies were able to enjoy this success as a result of participating in the Renewable Energy Export Initiative. Further German firms which have been assisted by the Renewable Energy Export Initiative also contributed towards the project. The formal opening ceremony for the facility is to be held on the third of July.

Rainer Brüderle, Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, stated: "This co-operation is a marvelous example of an effective and lasting tie-up between our assistance for foreign trade and investment and our development co-operation. It truly spotlights the benefits for all sides. The project is transferring technology and know-how to Kenya and developing the local market. At the same time, German firms benefit from the support from the Export Initiative: it enables them to access highly promising future markets. But the most important thing is that the facility helps both the small and big residents of the SOS Children's Village. In the past, the village has had to battle with almost daily power cuts. That problem has now been consigned to the past. This improvement lends a particularly beautiful symbolic note to the project."

"The new solar facility at Mombasa SOS Children's Village is a milestone in many senses. It offers us a comprehensive solution," says Ruth Okowa, Director of SOS Children's Villages in Kenya: "Solar power is economically viable, reliable and environmentally friendly on a long-term basis."

The Renewable Energy Export Initiative helps small and medium-sized German firms in the renewables sector to develop foreign markets.

Minister Brüderle said: "In this way, the Export Initiative is making an important contribution towards a sustainable and clean energy supply in the future. At the same time, it helps to strengthen Germany's economy."

Background Information:
As part of the project development programme run by the GIZ, the Export Initiative gives targeted support to the positioning of German firms on growing markets in developing and emerging economies.

The project concept for the supply of solar energy to the SOS Children's Village was developed during a business mission to Kenya organised by the GIZ in March 2010, when the contact was established with the Mombasa SOS Children's Village. Asantys Systems GmbH and African Solar Designs used solar panels from CentroSolar AG and inverters from SMA Solar Technology AG; the latter companies have also been involved in various measures of the Renewable Energy Export Initiative prior to this project.

Around 130 children live in the Mombasa SOS Children's Village. The attached Hermann Gmeiner School is also attended by many other children from the neighbourhood. The school has a total of 500 pupils.

When it is up and running, the solar facility, which has a peak output of 60 kW, will meet the electricity needs of the entire residential and educational site of the SOS Children's Village. In the long term, the aim will be not only to meet the internal needs, but also to feed solar power into the local grid - this would be a first for Kenya.

Additional information: You Tube movie on project
News date: 30/06/2011

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