SkyPower to invest billions in Kenya, Bangladesh solar markets

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SkyPower, the Canada-based developer of solar PV projects, has this week announced two ambitious plans to bolster solar energy in Kenya and Bangladesh.

In July the Toronto-headquartered company signed a deal at a trade summit in Nairobi to invest $2.2 billion in developing 1 GW of solar PV capacity in Kenya.

This week, according to SkyPower CEO Kerry Adler, that pledge has been doubled to $4.4 billion following a meeting at the weekend with the U.S.-based Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), New York, which was attended by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

SkyPower’s Adler said that the company would also invest further sums in the development and creation of a Kenya-based solar R&D center, and will also donate some 3,600 solar street lamps to the country.

The company’s original involvement in Kenya amounted to a $2.2 billion investment pledge that was witnessed by President Obama when the U.S. premier visited Kenya over the summer. This agreement, struck during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015, was a tangible sign of Obama’s call for greater ties between North America and Africa, with Kenyatta adding at the weekend that post-Obama’s visit, business partnerships between the regions have strengthened.

"The environment for doing business is changing and there are huge opportunities for U.S. c ompanies to get a foothold in Kenya," said Kenyatta. "It is a case of put in your foot first."

Adler also announced at the meeting with the BCIU an agreement by SkyPower to invest $4.3 billion in Bangladesh on the creation of a 2 GW solar PV plant in the country, reports have suggested. SkyPower will set up an office in Tungipara, in the region of Gopalganj, creating thousands of job opportunities during the four-year development and construction phase of the plant.

The Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in attendance in New York to sign the agreement with SkyPower, which also includes the donation of 1.5 million solar home lanterns to Bangladesh.

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