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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Our customers are switching to solar, Kenya Power laments

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Solar Usage in Kenya: Kenya Power has raised alarm that it is losing customers to solar energy. According to a report that appeared in a local newspaper on Friday, Kenya Power says that its industrial customers who account for about 54.8 percent of its sales revenues are gradually shifting to  solar power. In the financial year to June last year, Kenya Power got some Sh. 63 billion from the industrial customers who bought 4,462 Gigawatt hours.

This shift is hitting the monopolized power provider’s revenues. “The company operated in a challenging environment over the financial year under review, where demand growth at 3.7 percent remained below the projected level of five percent. The dampened demand growth is further compounded with the increased threats of grid defection by the industrial category as decentralized renewable energy options are becoming more available and cheaper,” Kenya Power was reported as having confessed in its latest annual report.

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The report further said that several companies, universities and factories have turned to solar photovoltaic (PV) grid-tied systems to supply power for internal use to ensure reliable supply and reduced operational costs.

“Big power consumers such as Africa Logistics Properties (ALP), Mombasa International Airport, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) have recently commissioned solar power units on their properties,” the report that appeared in the Business Daily said. “In September 2018, ALP installed a 506 kilowattpeak (kWp) hybrid solar PV, hoping to save Sh. 12 million per year. In the same month Icipe commissioned its Sh. 256 million two solar PV power plants located in Kasarani, Nairobi, and on the shores of Lake Victoria. The plants have a combined generating capacity of 1,156 kWp.”

Other big customers who were listed as being in the process of installing solar PV systems included the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Nairobi’s Garden City Mall, London Distillers Ltd, Williamson Tea, Kenyatta University, Strathmore University, and Kapa Oil Refineries. “Official data released last year showed that some 2.3 million households also used solar for lighting, representing about 19.3 per cent of the total number of homes,” the report said on solar usage in Kenya said.

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