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EAIF backs 40MW Kesses solar project in Kenya

EAIF has now supported green electricity generation in nine countries.

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The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), which is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), confirmed its leading position as a provider of debt funding to Africa’s alternative energy generation sector.

EAIF has provided a US$35 million loan over a 15-year term to the 40MW Kesses solar generation facility to be built near Eldoret in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. The project will cost a total of US$87 million.

The first part of the loan was disbursed to Alten Kenya Solarfarms BV (Alten), the Kenyan business of the Alten Group, in late December 2021.

Kenya has become the 9th African country where EAIF has supported renewable energy projects in recent years. The others are Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Commenting on the project, Sine Zulu, an Investment Specialist at EAIF’s investment managers, Ninety One, says:

“The Kesses plant brings multiple benefits to Kenya’s economic development. It will also play an important part in combatting climate change and strengthening Kenya’s ability to recover from Covid-19. EAIF is now established as a lender of choice for renewable energy companies investing in Africa.”

Alten Energías Renovables Group is an independent power producer (IPP) with international know-how in developing, financing and operating photovoltaic solar power plants in Sub-Saharan Africa, Central America and Europe. Alten will sell all its output to Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), the national energy utility, on a 20-year take-or-pay Power Purchase Agreement. Construction of the plant has already commenced and is expected to be completed in Spring this year.

Standard Bank, which is also a long-established lender to EAIF, was the mandated lead arranger of the project finance to Alten. Standard Bank is supplying US$41 million in debt comprising a term loan,  VAT and Debt Service Reserve facility. Standard Bank is acting through its CIB and Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited divisions.

“With the Kesses Project, Standard Bank has been able to provide continued support to the use of clean energy across the African continent allowing for a more sustainable future. This is the second project Standard Bank has funded with the Alten Group and we were pleased to be able to bring in and partner with EAIF for the funding,” says Sherrill Byrne, Executive Energy and Infrastructure Finance at Standard Bank.

Building the Kesses plant will improve access to energy for thousands of people supporting SDG 7 and create up to 400 construction jobs, with 15 permanent jobs during operations.

Eldoret has the largest population concentration in the Rift Valley area region. It is a centre for local government, higher education, business and financial services, textile manufacturing, agribusiness and sports tourism. According to the World Bank, prior to Covid-19, the Kenyan economy grew at over 6% in 2018. Meeting the growing demand for energy is essential to sustaining economic progress and accelerating economic recovery from the pandemic.

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