Kenya’s Kisumu County launches tender for solar mini-grids


The County Government of Kisumu (CGK), in Kenya, has launched a tender to select a developer to build solar mini-grids to power hospitals, markets, water pumping and street lighting, ideally on a build, operate and transfer basis. The local authority said the projects would have to have a minimum generation capacity of 5 kW.

“Contracted firms will design, construct and equip the solar PV facilities and may turn the projects over to CGK or own and operate them under mutually agreed terms and conditions,” the tender document reads. “CGK has a strong preference for build, operate and transfer or equivalent financing mechanisms that deliver similar risk, cost and performance characteristics.”

The closing date of the request for proposals document is November 26.

Twin track

According to the authority, only around 46% of the county’s population has access to the grid. “To make up for the deficit, aggressive investments in green energy have been made even as the department adopts counter measures to cut household dependency on grid electricity,” county renewable energy director Daniel Okia said last year.

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French developer Voltalia recently secured an $18.1 million loan to develop the 40 MW Kopere Solar Park Power Project in the region. That facility will sell solar electricity to utility KPLC under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Kenya had around 93 MW of solar generation capacity at the end of last year, according to International Renewable Energy Agency figures. The country introduced a feed-in tariff policy for grid-connected solar projects in 2008, revised the payment levels in 2010 and 2012 and was set to alter them again in 2015 although no change occurred.

The authorities are considering switching to a reverse-auction regime to allocate new solar capacity as solar project costs continue to fall.

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