Strathmore University and Kenya Power Sign Solar Energy Purchase Deal
For the first time in Kenya’s history, a power purchase agreement signed between Strathmore University (SU) and Kenya Power, has heralded the commercialization of solar power in the country. In the new 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), SU will charge Kenya Power Sh12.36 ($0.12) per unit of solar electricity delivered to the national grid.
The deal marks the first solar energy injection into the national grid network in Kenya. SU has installed solar panels with the capacity to produce 0.6 megawatts, of which 0.25 megawatts will be sold to Kenya power, while the rest is used to light up the institution.
Deputy VC Strathmore, Prof. Izael Da Silva explained the concept; As you may be aware, due to global warming, there is concern worldwide on how organizations can ensure less use of fossil fuels and adopt instead renewable sources of energy into their operations. Since December 2012 the Government of Kenya, through Ministry of Energy, offered incentives to institutions that will invest in renewable energy by offering to buy the power directly from these institutions. SU then obtained a soft loan from the French government, through Cooperative Bank, at a rate of 4.1% p.a. for the amount for this project, with a moratorium period of 12 months.
Projections show that SU will, through the solar panels, make savings on electricity bill (currently an average of Kshs. 2 million per month), and these savings will go towards repayment of the loan. Upon completion of repayment in 7 years, then the University will enjoy the PV Solar system fully paid for and providing for the power needs of the University. The figure below shows graphically what this will look like.
The Solar electricity was already hooked to the national grid but SU could not charge Kenya Power for its use because the power purchase agreement was yet to be signed.
By relying on solar energy, the university would save Kshs. 16.5 million on its energy costs, said Prof Izael. Over the years, the Strathmore brand has been on the forefront of offering solutions to current challenges in our society. In the 1960-70s, Strathmore was able to build capacity in accounting profession not only in Kenya, but also in the region through the Strathmore School of Accountancy. In the 90s, the IT and Business courses served and continue to be relevant in building capacity for the corporate Kenya. Currently, the issues of climate change and renewable energy have taken centre stage at a global level and hence Strathmore Energy Research Centre vision to convert Strathmore into the institution of choice for training, research and consultancy in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region.