The 50 MW Garissa Solar Power Plant
The Garissa Solar Plant is the largest grid connected solar power plant in East & Central Africa. This is the first time that Kenya has developed a major solar power plant to harness its abundant solar energy resource to diversify the power generation mix and reduce energy costs. Currently this project is contributing about 2% of the national energy mix and has significantly led to a reduction of energy costs in the country thereby promoting the development of clean, reliable, sustainable and affordable electricity.
Scope of works
This included the following:
- Construction of a 132KV bay at 132/33/11KV Ketraco Substation linking to the 132KV Bus bars.
- Construction of 5.7 km of 132KV transmission line with 16No. pylons (Towers) from the Solar Plant to Ketraco Substation.
- Established a 33/132 KV substation at the Solar Plant with a 50 MVA 33/132KV step up transformer
- Established a 50 MVA (Installed capacity is 54.65MW) solar generation plant generation complete, with Solar panels, step up transformers -33no x 0.415/33kV transformers , indoor 33kV switch room and control room for monitoring, including CCTV installations for monitoring.
The project involves implementation of a 50MW grid based solar power generation plant whereby all the generated power is sold to Kenya Power through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). To support the project, a 6 Kilometre 132 Kilo Vault (KV) power transmission line has been constructed between the REREC solar power plant and the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO) sub-station in Garissa to feed the power into the national power grid.
Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives
Various REREC's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities have been implemented to benefit communities living around the project for purposes of enhancing community ownership of the project through provision of health, education and security services. These initiatives include:
- Drilling of borehole with storage tank and piping
- Construction and equipping of a dispensary,
- Construction and equipping of a primary school,
- Construction of a 3km access road to the community farm
- Refurbishment of the local police post
- Face lifting chief’s camp to enhance security in the area.
Electrification of Public FacilitiesThe project implementation strategy of rural electrification in Kenya is intended to achieve the Government’s development strategy of realizing Vision 2030. The Government of Kenya’s primary goal as articulated in Vision 2030 is provision of a high quality of life to citizens by the year 2030 whereby electricity is identified as one of the critical factors of a high quality of life. The target of the Vision is to connect all public facilities and to ensure all Kenyans have access to electricity by the year 2030.
Electrification of Primary SchoolsDuring the financial years (2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16) the focus of rural electrification was on electrification of public primary schools in support of the Government’s Digital Learning Programme. This has been implemented through grid extension in schools within grid network and installation of solar PVs in schools in off-grid areas. The programme is not only intended to improve education standards but also to enhance electricity access across the country. Since primary schools are in every corner of the country, the network put in place has served as a backbone for connecting households in the vicinity of these primary schools. Electrification of Public Primary schools is still ongoing under the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation.
Transformer MaximizationThe aim of the transformer maximization project is to enhance electricity access and connectivity in areas with large populations that had not been previously not been reached due to the 600 metres radius transformer limitation. The project involves installation extension transformers per constituency in the grid areas where HT lines have previously been implemented. The Rural Electrification & Renewable Energy Corporation is working in consultation with the communities to identify priority areas per constituency for implementation of this project. The transformer maximization project is expected to open up the rural areas through supply of essential power for economic activities, facilitation of business opportunities and enhanced security. It will also expected to fast-track the connection of households that are 600 metres away from the grid.