A grid-connected Nyeri solar PV plant is vying to become the first privately owned project of its kind to reach commercial operation in Kenya.
This follows a US$355,000 equity investment from the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP).
Developer Marco Borero is expecting to reach financial close on the 1.5MW project in Nyeri County within weeks, and has its sights firmly set on achieving commercial operation by the end of this year.
The announcement marks a notable turnaround for the first-time developer, which previously had to put its plans on hold whilst it raised the final tranche of equity. This fundraising process, which was required to complete the project’s financing package, was proving challenging due to the comparatively small size of both the project and the funding amount required.
Although Marco Borero had earlier secured a US$1.8m senior debt offer from the French Development Agency’s (AFD) SUNREF programme via the Co-operative Bank of Kenya to help fund construction, REPP’s equity participation brought much-needed comfort to lenders in order to complete the financing required to bring the project to fruition.
REPP’s participation will unlock the senior debt facility and enable Astonfield Solar, a sub-Saharan Africa solar EPC contractor that has commissioned over 50 projects in East Africa, to ramp up construction, which has already commenced on site.
It will then be a race to the finish between Marco Borero and a number of other privately owned grid-connected solar projects currently looking to complete construction this year. These include two 40MW plants in Eldoret, which once completed will be among the largest solar farms in East Africa.
“REPP came in at the right time, and I’m sure without them Marco Borero would have challenges meeting the project’s COD deadline later this year,”says Henry Maina Kanyua, Chairman, Marco Borero Company Limited.
“When REPP came on board they not only injected fresh equity, but also a fresh management style due to their experience,” adds Mr Kanyua.
Nyeri solar PV project is proposed to be located just North of the Nyeri town in Nyeri County, approximately 40Km north of Nyeri town project will utilize Natural Solar Energy using solar power technology directly connected to the National grid without storage, and have the capability to produce a nominal 10 megawatts (MW) of energy.
The project will help meet the increasing demand for clean, renewable electrical energy in the Kenya and help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and associated costs.