Solarcentury to build east Africa’s largest battery storage system for solar


The British company continues to explore PV opportunities in Africa, with a project that will see three solar systems installed at the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe). The project, which is the largest solar investment in Kenya to date, will be made up of three PV plants, one of which will include a solar battery storage system that Solarcentury claims will be East Africa’s largest, highlighting the rising renewable energy ambitions on the continent.

The three plants will be installed at the icipe’s Duduville Campus in Nairobi and at the Thomas Odhiambo Campus, in western Kenya. The total capacity of the plants will be 1154 KW, with various components incorporated across them, including roof systems, a carport, and the battery storage system. “Through this project, icipe’s goal is to create a sustainable energy supply and to reduce diesel fuel dependency by constructing solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants.”

Andrew Crossland, Solarcentury’s Senior Design Engineer for hybrid energy systems, told pv magazine that the storage system will further reduce the dependence on expensive diesel generators. Additionally, it will reduce the long term cost of energy, by allowing the PV system to provide up to 40% of the site’s energy, as opposed to 15% without the battery storage system.

Work is due to begin on the site in July 2016, with the aim of being operational by October 2016.

It is part of icipe’s commendable Greening Project, which is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in an attempt to reduce the Center’s carbon footprint. As well as trying to convert the Center’s energy reliance to renewables, the project incorporates energy saving initiatives and water conservation measures.

As far as the PV project goes, it is being delivered by Solarcentury’s East Africa office. Solarcentury has been making strides into the Africa solar market, since the downturn in the UK’s solar market, and proudly proclaims to have installed solar in a greater variety of sites than any other company in the industry.

“In the last two years in Kenya, we have built one of the largest solar farms in east Africa for a tea farm, as well as a solar carport on the roof of a brand new Mall in Nairobi,” said Guy Lawrence, Director at Solarcentury in East Africa. “Now we are bringing our world-class engineering expertise to develop three systems, including what we believe to be the largest battery storage system for solar in east Africa. The awarding of this contract means that Solarcentury will have built the three largest PV systems in Kenya.”