Millions to get solar power in Sh500m World Bank project

Engineers installing solar panels on a building in Nairobi's Central Business District (CBD), September 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Over two million Kenyans from 14 counties are set to benefit from clean energy from a Sh500 million solar project funded by the World Bank.

The project is being implemented by the Ministry of Energy through the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project.

According to the Chief Administrative Secretary CAS Zachary Ayieko, the counties to benefit are West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu, Isiolo, Mandera, Wajir, Garrisa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Narok.

Beneficiaries will be provided with cooking stoves and standalone solar power installations in their homes to enable them to have friendly energy solutions.   

“KOSAP is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to not only ensure they access electricity but also adopt clean energy solutions. It is a major step towards the fulfilment of the Constitutional guarantee for all Kenyans to access government services, no matter where they live,” he said.                         

Currently, the targeted counties have 23 per cent rate connectivity to electricity compared to the national average of 70 per cent.

Further, due to the construction of mini-grids to the landmass and the sparsely distributed population, the construction of mini-grids and installations of standalone solar systems was the most effective strategy to achieve universal access to modern energy.  

Under the programme, 400,000 households will be served with Stand-alone Solar Systems while another 111,277 households will be served with clean cooking solutions. They include 450 community facilities such as schools, health facilities and administrative offices and 380 solar-powered boreholes to be sank. 

Another 146 solar-powered mini-grids will be constructed in the targeted counties to supply about 55,000 households with solar power.  

“The government has scaled investments in the energy sector, ensuring those not covered by the main grid tap into alternative sources considered clean, healthier, and environmentally friendly and KOSAP is a catalyst in our quest to ensure Kenyans access electricity that is clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly,” he added.  

To make it viable, the government has enlisted the services of 20 Solar Service Providers who will be assisted to set up infrastructure in the 14 counties.      

The aim of the programme is to provide electricity to parts of the country that are not served by the national grid to achieve the government’s goal of ensuring that every part of the country has access to energy. 

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