European funds back 40MW Kenyan solar field


The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) financed by the governments of the U.K., the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden has provided a $35 million, 15-year loan towards the $87 million cost of a 40MW solar project planned in Kenya.

The EAIF, which borrows from public and private lenders to on-lend finance for renewables projects in Africa, distributed the first installment of the loan, via South Africa's Standard Bank Group, in late December.

Spanish solar company Alten Energías Renovables is developing the Kesses solar project near the town of Eldoret, near the equator in Kenya's Rift Valley, with construction expected to be complete in “spring 2022.”

The solar field, which will create up to 400 construction jobs and 15 permanent positions, will supply all the electricity it generates to national utility the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, which has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement.

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As project lead financer, Johannesburg-headquartered Standard Bank will provide $41 million for the Kesses facility, including the $35 million from the EAIF, an extra debt facility, and VAT.

Sine Zulu, an investment specialist at London-based asset management company Ninety-one, which manages the EAIF, said: “The Kesses plant brings multiple benefits to Kenya's economic development. It will also play an important part in combating climate change and strengthening Kenya's recovery from Covid-19. [The] EAIF is now established as a lender of choice for renewable energy companies investing in Africa.”

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