Africa Updates: Kenya Launches $47 Million Off-Grid Solar Access Project

Kenya launched a $47 million facility under the Off-Grid Solar Access Project aimed to boost the private sector to provide solar and clean cooking solutions

The Kenyan Government has launched a $47 million (KSh 4.7 billion) facility under the Kenya-Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP) to provide viable solar and clean cooking solutions to about 1.1 million people in marginalized regions.

The Results-Based Financing (RBF) and Debt Facilities under the KOSAP will be financed by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Energy alongside the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) and the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC).

They are intended to ensure that counties that are not served by the grid receive access to energy through off-grid solutions. The World Bank will provide of $150 million (KSh 15 billion), and KOSAP will help establish viable off-grid solutions for areas that are too far for the national grid to be economical.

“The country has made great strides in achieving connectivity with access to electricity standing at 75% through both grid and off-grid options.  However, access to electricity is low in the 14 marginalized counties, which represent 72% of the country’s total land area and 20% of the population. The dispersed settlements in the marginalized counties make off-grid solutions the only viable alternative for access to electricity,” said Dr Eng. Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Energy.

The project targets 277,000 households (approximately 1.3 million people from the 14 marginalized counties). It plans to construct 151 mini-grids in the target counties as well as the installation of stand-alone solar systems under the financing. The project also targets to replace 380 diesel pumps with solar for drinking water, and expects to facilitate the provision of 150,000 clean cooking stoves in West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit, Samburu and Isiolo.

The RBF and Debt Facilities specifically aim to establish sustainable supply chains for marketing and sales of solar home systems in KOSAP counties. The Facilities are in three parts: $ 12 million (KSh 1.2 billion) Solar Service Providers Results-Based Financing (SSP RBF Facility), $ 30 million (KSh 3 billion) Solar Service Providers Debt Facility (SSP Debt Facility), and $ 5 million (KSh 500 million) Clean Cooking Solutions Challenge Fund.

Under the KOSAP Solar Service Providers RBF, a total of $ 12 million (KSh 1.2 Billion) in financing will be provided to compensate solar home systems service providers (SSPs) for expansion.

The $ 30 million SSP Debt Facility will provide borrowing to private sector SSPs to acquire inventory as well as to extend consumer financing and purchase the products, for example, Pay-As-You-Go technology.

The Clean Cooking Solutions Challenge Fund worth $ 5 Million will encourage the uptake of clean cooking stoves to mitigate environmental degradation.

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