CJIC starts construction of Kenya’s first large-scale PV plant

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The Kenyan Rural Electrification Authority (REA) announced that construction of the 50 MW Garissa solar park will begin in two weeks, according to local state-owned press agency Kenya News Ageny (KNA) citing a statement from REA’s chairman Simon Gicharu.

Gicharu said that the bottleneck problems that have been halting the project have now been solved, and that work on the facility will be completed within the next 12 months.

Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and the Vice Governor of Jianxi Province of China signed a MoU for the construction of a new transmission line to connect the plant to the national grid in October 2016. At the time the Kenyan government said that construction on the plant was scheduled to start by the end of last year.

The 12.8 billion KES ($116.0 million) project, which was originally announced in 2012, is being financed through concessional funding from the Government of the People’s Republic of China. The project’s developer is the Chinese company China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic & Technical Co, Ltd. (CJIC), with which Jinko Solar signed a module supply agreement in September 2012. Under the terms of the agreement, Jinko was contracted as preferred module supplier and to provide technical support.

Located in the northwest city of Garissa, the project is expected to be one of the largest of its kind in Africa, when complete. The 50 MW plant will be built across 81 hectares and will generate around 76,473 MWh of energy annually. The project is part of Kenya’s wider plan to ensure universal access to electricity by 2020.