Kenya Announces 137 Solar Minigrid Project Rollout in 12 Counties


The project is financed by the World Bank, which approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $150 million to fund the project back in 2017.

The solar minigrids will electrify 567 public facilities, including secondary schools, health facilities, and administrative offices. They will also power water pumps for 380 boreholes. The project will give access to electricity to approximately 277,000 households, or 1.5 million people.

“Kenya has deployed minigrids to serve communities that are not connected to the main grid,” says Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Energy Davis Chirchir. “Currently, we have about 62 minigrids that are fully operational and 28 which are under construction. We hope to deploy more minigrids to close the energy access gap and ensure universal access to electricity by 2030.”

The locations of the 137 minigrids were published in the official gazette in April 2022. Land acquisition is reportedly ongoing, under the guidance of the National Land Commission.

According to KOSAP, some of the challenges that disrupted the rollout of the projects since funding was due to the high cost of products, the low purchasing power of residents, and companies being apprehensive to work in rural areas.

“While Africa remains the least electrified continent, it also has the biggest potential for solar minigrid deployment,” said Gabriela Elizondo Azuela, manager of the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP).

“Solar minigrids can reach populations today that would otherwise wait years to be reached by the grid. They have the potential to transform the power sector in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through World Bank operations and advice to governments, ESMAP is helping take minigrids from a niche to a mainstream solution.”

Author: Cosmas Mwirigi

This article was originally published in pv magazine and is republished with permission.

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