African property developer Rendeavour’s 1 MW rooftop project in Nairobi – built on top of Dormans Coffee’s headquarters in the Tatu Industrial Park – is generating enough electricity to cater to the needs of around 8,500 people per year. Rendeavour completed the installation in less than a week, it said in an online statement. The company did not reveal the PV module supplier for the project, which required 15 km of cable.
“The power produced from the solar panels will be distributed for use by homes and businesses within the city,” said Nick Langford, Kenya country head for Rendeavour.
The Lagos-based developer plans to install solar panels on every rooftop in the Tatu Industrial Park, which it says is the biggest in East Africa. The site – reserved for light, non-polluting companies – includes facilities owned by businesses such as London-based consumer goods giant Unilever. The industrial park is part of a larger development that includes Tatu City, a 5,000-acre, mixed-use development with more than 5,000 homes under construction in addition to offices and retail space.
Kenya offers enormous solar potential but its cumulative PV installation capacity remains negligible, at just 93 MW at the end of 2018, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. However, the Kenyan government and the World Bank recently unveiled a strategic roadmap that highlighted the importance of off-grid solar in providing universal energy access. The partner organizations estimated the plan could provide up to $14 billion in investment opportunities over five years.
A handful of new project announcements in recent months have also raised hopes for utility scale PV. In early December, French developer Voltalia obtained an $18.1 million loan from the African Development Bank to build 50 MW of solar in Nandi County, about 310 km northwest of Nairobi. And just two weeks later Voltalia revealed it would handle EPC services for another 40 MW solar project independent power producer Alten Africa is developing near the city of Eldoret.