History has been made for the first time as a power purchase agreement is signed between Kenya Power and Strathmore University to commercialize solar energy in the country. In the new 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), Strathmore University will charge Kenya Power Sh12.36 ($0.12) per unit of solar electricity delivered to the national grid.
This sweet deal marks the very first solar energy injection into the national grid network in Kenya. Strathmore University has installed solar panels with the capacity to produce 0.6 megawatts, of which 0.25 megawatts will be sold to Kenya power (a public liability company that transmits, distributes, and retails electricity to customers throughout Kenya), 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 a 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 the Ministry of Energy, offered incentives to institutions that will invest in renewable energy by offering to buy the power directly from these institutions.
Strathmore University 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 indicate that the premier educational institution, SU will, through the solar panels, make savings on electricity bills (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 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 at the forefront of offering solutions to current challenges in our society. In the 1960-70s, Strathmore was able to build capacity in the 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 corporate Kenya. Currently, the issues of climate change and renewable energy have taken center stage at a global level, and hence Strathmore Energy Research Center’s vision to convert Strathmore into the institution of choice for training, research, and consultancy in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region.