Japan’s Looop signs 40 MW development plan in Kenya

Mali's solar generation capacity is currently represented by small-sized PV installations.

The project — which emerged from joint studies that Looop conducted with the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology — will be the first solar array to be developed by a Japanese company on the continent outside of South Africa, according to an online statement.

Looop will develop and implement the business plan, while the local government will offer assistance and provide land.

Upon completion, the electricity will be sold to utility Kenya Power under the country’s feed-in tariff (FIT) system over a period of 20 years.

The Kenyan government currently offers a FIT rate of US$0.12/kWh for solar projects ranging from 10-100 MW in size and US$0.10/kWh for 0.5 – 10 MW arrays.

However, in October the Nairobi-based Business Daily reported that the Ministry of Energy plans to introduce an auction system for utility-scale power projects at some point in early 2017.

Kenya’s cumulative installed solar capacity stood at just 24 MW at the end of 2015, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

However, interest in utility-scale PV development has been growing in Kenya in recent years.

For example, Toronto-based developer SkyPower Global announced a US$2.2 billion plan in July 2015 to build 1GW of solar in the country.

(Author: Brian Publicover)