Kenya’s first net metered PV project completed

Centrosolar, which delivered the 312 photovoltaic modules needed for the 60 kilowatt peak solar system, explains that the installation was carried out by partner company Asantys Systems together with Kenyan cooperation partner, African Solar Design.

The German photovoltaic company explains that the project dates back to the ‘Renewable Energies Export Initiative’ of the German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology (BMWi). It is expected to be inaugurated in July.

Located in Mombasa, the system has been set up to supply part of the power required by the SOS Children’s Village. A statement issued by Centrosolar explains that it "makes the 130 children currently living in the village a bit more independent from the numerous supply bottlenecks that are typical for Kenya’s overburdened power grid." A further part of the generated electricity will also be used for schools, where it is said over 500 students from the area are taught.

Reportedly, the project is a first for Kenya in that it both generates electricity for the operator’s own needs and feeds surplus energy back into the power grid. The statement continues: "So-called net metering ensures that the electricity meter in the Children’s Village counts backwards whenever the system feeds power into the grid, thus reducing energy costs."

Frank Heise, Sales Director of Stand Alone Systems at Centrosolar comments: "Mombasa is the second largest city in Kenya. However, the power supply is very unreliable and locally generated electricity is very expensive. In one of the sunniest countries in the world, developing solar energy with appropriate infrastructure is the logical solution."

A spokesperson for Centrsolar additionally tells pv magazine that the company is planning to implement further projects, both in Kenya and East Africa. "Africa and especially the eastern part is a very interesting market for us and our modules fit very well to the needs there," they said. "We expect to implement further activities soon, but it is too early to give you more details."

The worldwide SOS Children’s Village Organisation also says it is now planning to add renewable energy to other children’s villages.