Kenya: Solar financing plan launched

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Chloride Exide, East Africa’s largest module manufacturer, has said those wishing to acquire panels from the recently opened solar factory in the Kenyan town of Naivasha, can now apply for a loan facility from any commercial bank using guarantee notes from the company.

"Chloride Exide, in partnership with a local bank, has worked out a financing system that would enable institutions and individuals interested in investing in alternative energy to access this technology," said marketing manager, Louis Nyamweya.

He added that the financing only applies to products purchased from the $3million solar manufacturing facility, which opened in Naivasha last August. It is a joint venture between Chloride Exide and Ubbink B.V – a wholly owned subsidiary of Centrotec Sustainable AG.

The factory, the first of its kind in East Africa, started manufacturing modules worth 13, 14, 20, 30, and 40 Watts peak (Wp). Plans have now been unveiled to extend the product range to include the sizes 60, 80, 85, 120 and 125 Wp solar modules by next July. Currently 100 modules are manufactured each day. "Among our products are hybrid systems that combine solar and wind energy that are ideal for institutions in remote rural areas not covered by the national grid," Nyamweya added.

The financial plan from Chloride Exide comes less than a year after Kenya removed tax on imported raw materials for the making of solar panels. Former finance minister, Uhuru Kenyatta said the removal of the 25 percent tax on imported solar panel materials is "to encourage local manufacturing."

Chloride Exide CEO, Guy Jack has said the company wants to ride on the back of the new incentive, and expand the manufacturing and supply of solar panels in the entire Eastern African region. The tax incentive, he said, "will boost production as capacity to produce still remains."

And according to Nyamweya, Kenya has "set the right climate for a higher uptake of solar and wind energy technology by zero-rating duty and VAT on equipment for the two forms of alternative energy."