16 June, 2020 Member article

ARE Member Renewvia commissions mini-grids in 3 localities in Kenya

11 June 2020 – The Kenyan subsidiary of solar off-grid provider and ARE Member Renewvia Energy has just commissioned three solar mini grids for three communities in Turkana and Marsabit counties in Kenya. This electrification project was implemented in partnership with Energising Development (EnDev).

Located in northern Kenya, Turkana and Marsabit counties now have three small solar photovoltaic power plants. They were recently commissioned by the Kenyan subsidiary of Renewvia Energy, a provider of off-grid solar systems based in the state of Georgia in the United States of America. The three plants were installed in Ngurunit locality (27.6 kWp), Kalobeyei locality (20 kWp) and Kalobeyei refugee camp (60 kWp).

These facilities have battery electric storage systems of 120 kWh for the Kalobeyei refugee camp, 60 kWh for Kalobeyei locality and 144 kWh for Ngurunit locality. The three solar systems feed small grids in these three communities. In Marsabit County, Renewvia Energy built a mini-grid in Ngurunit locality. It serves 160 households as well as 25 local businesses and social institutions. In the small town of Kalobeyei in Turkana County, the mini-grid connects 100 households as well as 29 local businesses and local institutions.

Green electricity for businesses and households

Renewvia Energy has also built a mini-grid for the Kalobeyei camp, hosting refugees fleeing political instability in South Sudan. Divided into three villages and covering 15 km2, the camp is run by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under the aegis of the Turkana County Government. The new electricity grid installed there provides electricity to 500 households, schools, businesses and churches.

Renewvia Energy implemented the electrification project in the three settlements in collaboration with Energising Development (EnDev), as part of an electricity access partnership funded by six European countries: the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden. EnDev supported the project through an output-based grant (RBF) provided by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German international cooperation agency.

Support from several development partners

The project was also funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to the tune of $630,000. “With the installation of DFID-funded mini-grids, our aim was to facilitate private sector entry into the mini-grid market in Kenya, and in particular to provide electricity in rural areas. We have been working with the Turkana and Marsabit County Governments and Renewvia to provide electricity to these three villages and we hope that the mini-grids will operate in a sustainable manner and bring the much needed positive impact to local households, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and social institutions,” says Anna Ingwe, EnDev’s Kenya Director.

The three mini-grids now operational in Turkana and Marsabit counties add to Renewvia Energy’s portfolio in Africa. Just a few days ago, the US company already commissioned two solar hybrid systems in Bayelsa State in southern Nigeria.