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KenGen studying viability of solar energy in Kenya

CARTOON
By | November 20th 2010

By PATRICK GITHINJI

STANDARD REPORTER

Power generation company, KenGen, has announced its intention to exploit solar energy in the country.

"We are studying on how we can tap sunshine and convert it into solar energy," the firm’s Managing Director, Eddy Njoroge said.

Already, KenGen has sent two of its employees to Spain to study the model and come up a proposal.

Locally, solar energy is mainly is used on a small-scale, especially for lighting up homes. Mr Njoroge said its now time for the country to commercilise it.

If adopted, the plant will be set up in the hydro areas such as Masinga as it it claimed that such areas receive more sunshine annually.

A few months ago, the power generator opened a wind farm in Ngong hills, which is part of its strategy to expand its clean energy portfolio, while diversifying its electricity generating sources, to keep up with the growing demand.

Mr Njoroge said such expansion would bridge the gap between the energy demand and capacity supplied. Currently, Kenya faces a deficit of 126 megawatts of power.

"When this stabilises, we would then look at avenues for exporting the surplus to other East African countries," he said.

Early this week, KenGen signed a loan of Sh4.3 billion from the German government’s development financing arm, KfW, to fund the construction of Olkaria IV.

The upgrade will increase the dam’s power generation capacity by over 80 per cent to 72 megawatts. This is projected to significantly boost the firm’s revenues.

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