Laikipia County is banking on clean energy to grow its domestic revenue and turn around its fortunes.
Governor Ndiritu Muriithi says the devolved unit has signed several deals with solar energy firms to generate more than 80MW that will be sold to the national grid.
"The largest project is a 40MW deal at Rumuruti town and we are excited that it has just reached financial close... we have struck a deal with energy firm, Kenergy, that will be the independent power producer," said Mr Muriithi.
The county has also signed three other deals with other independent power producers that will result in 60MW sold to the national grid. "Our objective is to ultimately build our domestic revenue and we believe clean energy investment will be one of the drivers of this growth," said Muriithi.
30 per cent increase
He said they recorded a 30 per cent growth in own-source-revenue over the past year and the administration targeted to sustain it this financial year and collect Sh850 million.
Counties are hard pressed to reduce reliance on central government transfers and fund more of their budgets. This has seen them struggle with budget deficits, worsened by delayed funds disbursement from Treasury. The funding gap has also been blamed for counties' pending bills estimated at a cumulative Sh100 billion.
The governor said counties needed to tighten their budget oversight to lessen the burden of pending bills and meet supplier demands.
"The challenge comes when counties commit more than they have budgeted for and they end up owing suppliers. This is worsened when counties overestimate the amount of money they can raise locally," he said.