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Strathmore University to stir solar revolution in Kenya.

Kenya is a leader in eastern and central Africa region when it comes to the adoption of solar power. In fact, only South Africa has more installed solar capacity on the continent.
What is not mentioned, though, is that almost all of the solar power installations in the country are stand alone - such as home solar systems – rather than connected to the national grid.
The Kenyan government has been trying to encourage more solar power use by making it easier for investors
to make solar photovoltaic projects part of the national energy mix supply. This has been done through a raft of measures that include setting up a feed in tariff (FIT) to help investors understand what returns they might expect from providing power to Kenya’s national grid.

For a number of years now there has been no investor willing to put up a “grid-tied” solar photovoltaic project- but Strathmore University in Nairobi is set to change that. The university is putting up a 0.6 megawatt (MW) solar power project, tied to the national power grid, on the roof of its buildings.
The road to this project started back in 2011, when the university installed a much smaller 10 kilowatt (KW) solar power system on the roof of one of its buildings. The bigger 0.6MW solar power system is intended to supply the university with its electricity needs and allow it to sell the excess power to the national grid.

According to Geoffrey Rono who is the head of the energy research center at the university, the university wants to cut its electricity bill, and the project is in tune with the university’s policy of having energy efficient and sustainable buildings.
Investors likely will be keen to learn from this project how to go about putting up grid-tied solar projects. The university’s experience, however, points to some of the bumps in the road ahead.

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