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KenGen ramps up plans to build solar panel production plant

Large scale solar power project constructed by CJIC in Garissa County. [Courtesy]

Electricity generating firm KenGen is gearing up to start production of solar panels.

The company is looking to tap into the growing demand for solar power products locally while diversifying its revenue streams. 

KenGen in December started the search for a company to construct a manufacturing plant at its Tana Power Station in Murang’a County.

“Over the years, KenGen has invested heavily in the generation of electricity using an array of different renewable energy sources apart from solar energy," said the company in tender documents.

"It is in this line that KenGen invites bids from eligible firms and entities to design, supply, install, train KenGen employees and commission a silicon-based solar photovoltaic (PV) panel production plant for KenGen.”

Other than currently hosting a 20 megawatt (MW) power plant, the Tana station also has a research and development centre. 

The company has in the recent past been looking at diversifying revenue streams to reduce reliance on the traditional sale of electricity to Kenya Power.

KenGen has ventured into other areas, including drilling of geothermal wells for other firms and recently won contracts in Ethiopia and Djibouti.

It is also in the process of setting up the Olkaria Energy Park, an industrial park where large power consumers are expected to access electricity directly from the firm.

KenGen is also eyeing other solar-related projects and said it is in the process of developing solar power plants at its Seven Forks hydropower plants in Embu. The plants with a capacity to generate 42.5MW will be floating on the hydropower dams.

“Our affinity for renewable energy has paved way for the development of 42.5MW Seven Forks Solar project expected to be added to the grid by the end of 2024,” said the company in its annual report.

While the firm is yet to have any commercial-scale solar power plant in its portfolio, it has been operating the Garissa Solar Power Plant on behalf of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation.