Kenya Power turns to solar to remain relevant

Kenya electricity distributor Kenya power has set out plans to join the Solar power business in order to remain relevant and maintain its customers.
The move comes just some few months after major companies and home users started to switch to Solar power following the outcry of high electricity bills and unreliable distribution from the power supplier.
The monopoly power supply KPLC is eager to cash in rather than lose out on the millions of solar kits being mounted on the roofs of homes and business premises around the country. This has turned to be a wake up call and mow Kenya power plans to install panels in private houses and office blocks with the promise of cheap uninterrupted electricity.
“Consumers will benefit from cheaper solar energy generated during sunny hours… The solar plants will include storage with minimum autonomy to cancel out effect of short-duration supply interruptions which has been a major cause of concern among some commercial and industrial customers,” Kenya Power says in internal documents seen by the Business Daily.
To implement the plan, Kenya Power will approach potential customers and contract private firms to mount solar panels on their rooftops under a design-build finance operate model.
“KPLC will undertake the role of project development by liaising with interested commercial and industrial customers who will provide rooftop space or ground space for installation of the PV (photovoltaic) modules,” stated Kenya Power.
“A private sector investor will then be selected competitively through a request for proposal (RFP) to develop and operate the grid tied captive solar plants at the customer premises.”
Kenya Power would afterwards sell the generated power at a discounted rate to the owners of homes and office blocks hosting its solar plants.
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Excess electricity would then be distributed to homes and commercial entities near the solar panels. However, the facilities will remain the property of Kenya Power and the private investors installing them.
It remains to be seen if the method will work out. Considering the panels will be mounted to residential rooftops, selling the power back to the same residents will be a puzzle that Kenya power will have to solve.
Kenya Power in November last year raised an alarm, saying some of its industrial customers were gradually shifting to solar resulting in 54.8 percent drop in its revenue, dealing a further blow to its already dwindling finances.
Globally, a switch to Solar power has widely been adapted. Countries such as Australia have heavily shifted to Solar easing over reliance on coal- and gas-fired power plants.

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