Enel Green Power is teaming up with the US company Powerhive Inc. a leading mini-grid technology solutions provider and developer, to build and operate mini-grids in 100 villages in Kenya. The project requires an investment of around 12 million US dollars in the course of 2016, 93% borne by EGP and 7% borne by Powerhive.The project, developed by Powerhive, consists of a portfolio of solar mini-grids with a total installed capacity of 1 MW, to be built in the Western part of Kenya, in the Counties of Kisii and Nyamira, and which will bring clean energy to 20,000 households, small businesses, schools, and healthcare centres, thus powering and connecting around 90,000 people to the grid. 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”, commented 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.
Africa’s need to access energy is huge. According to International Energy Agency data, the continent has more than 620 million people who still lack access to electricity. Energy poverty affects health, limits development opportunities, it reduces access to education and the potential to exit poverty status. For emerging countries, access to electricity is a source of growth, a pre-requisite for wider access to goods and services and lays the foundations for the development of people and communities.In line with Enel’s commitment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, EGP is strongly engaged on a broader strategy of off-grid electrification which includes several initiatives across company’s footprint in Africa, Latin America and Asia.