Enel Green Power is teaming up with the US-based Powerhive Inc. to build and operate solar-powered mini-grids in 100 villages in Kenya.
The US$12 million venture is 93% owned by EGP and 7% by Powerhive. The project, developed by Powerhive, consists of a portfolio of solar mini-grids with a total installed capacity of 1 meagwatt, to be built in the western part of Kenya, in the counties of Kisii and Nyamira.
The integration of mini-grids with energy storage facilities will allow this system to balance supply and demand thus reducing volatility and offset variations in customer loads and unpredictable fluctuations in power generation which are intrinsic when producing power from renewable sources.
“Kenya’s rich and differentiated technology mix in the renewables industry offers a quite unique platform for the business development of Enel Green Power in Africa,” said Francesco Venturini, CEO of EGP. “This country couples a low electrification rate, still in the range of 30%, with one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates of the region, thus making this union ideal to implement innovative solutions able to integrate the electrification of rural areas with generation from renewables, storage facilities as well as advanced billing systems.”
The project will also provide customers with an easier and more reliable payment system through the adoption of a mobile phone prepayment application and through Powerhive’s mini-grid operating platform.