Saving the Planet

InfraCo Africa finances expansion of off-grid solutions in northwest Kenya

InfraCo Africa - cleanbuild
Credit: britannica.com

Kenya’s energy sector has witnessed considerable growth in recent times, enabling 75% of its population to access electricity. Even as access to electricity increases, the majority of people in Busia County in northwest Kenya continue to rely on kerosene as their main source of lighting.

To address this unequal distribution of power, InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), is working with renewable energy developer Rural Village Energy Solutions (RVE.SOL) to support the expansion of its innovative multi-sector KUDURA Power East Africa (KPEA) business.

Having signed a joint Shareholders Agreement committing a total of $8 million to support the scale-up of RVE.SOL’s innovative multi-sector KUDURA Power East Africa (KPEA) business in Kenya, InfraCo Africa will own a 40% share of KPEA.

The project is set to drive additional 22 solar mini-grids in Kenya’s Busia County, 450km northwest of the capital, Nairobi. The mini-grids installation is expected to be done in Q1 2020 with full commissioning by Q3 2022.

It is anticipated that the project will provide approximately 7000 new connections, mostly for rural households, giving locals access to prepaid solar electricity and solar-powered appliances as well as powering street lighting, pumping, and water purification.

Incorporating battery back-up, the mini-grids will range in size from 10 – 60kWp, totaling 512kWp. The modular nature of the mini-grids will enable KPEA to respond to changing needs over time, redeploying capacity across its sites as demand increases.

By scaling KPEA’s innovative multi-sector approach to off-grid power, KUDURA mini-grid seeks to attract further private sector investment, demonstrating the added value of adopting a combined approach to the delivery of power, water, street lighting, and appliance finance as a catalyst for sustainable rural development.

InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes said, “InfraCo Africa is committed to scaling up mini-grids as a commercially viable infrastructure class and we are delighted to partner with RVE.SOL on the KUDURA Mini-grid project.

RVE.SOL is one of the leading mini-grid operators in sub-Saharan Africa and we are confident in their capacity to consolidate the sector in Kenya and East Africa.”

He believes that the project will expand access to clean, reliable solar power in rural areas as well as pilot delivery of street lighting, water pumping and purification, and appliance financing.

The bottom line is to ensure that communities and businesses can truly benefit from the health, security, and economic impacts of clean and renewable energy.

RVE.SOL’s CEO, Vivian Vendeirinho said, “As an early-stage pioneer of the mini-grid business on the continent, we are committed to realizing renewable mini-grids as the least-cost form of rural electrification resulting in transformational electrification rates.”

According to her, the partnership with InfraCo Africa gives credibility to mini-grids as infrastructure investment, moving them into the mainstream for the accelerated achievement of SDG7.

The project is also supported by the Green Mini-Grid Facility Kenya (GMG Kenya), a program created by Agence Française de Développement in 2016. The GMG is financed by UKAid and EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund.

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