KENYA: Alten closes financing for its 55 MWp Kesses solar PV plant

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KENYA: Alten closes financing for its 55 MWp Kesses solar PV plant©Mark Agnor/Shutterstock

Spanish independent power producer (IPP) Alten Energías Renovables is closing the financing of its Kesses solar power plant in western Kenya. The project is supported by loans from two investors who are very active in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Kenya, the Kesses solar project has reached a new stage. Its financing has just been completed following a financial mobilization that attracted two investors. This is the case of Standard Bank which arranged the transaction. The South African bank is also providing $41 million in debt including a term loan, a VAT (value added tax) and a debt service reserve facility.

The bank will provide this financing through commercial banks CIB Bank and Stanbic Bank Kenya. The Kesses solar project is also backed by Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF). The investor, which is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), is providing $35 million. This loan will be repaid over a period of 15 years by the project developer Alten Kenya Solarfarms BV, the subsidiary of Alten Energías Renovables.

Commissioning within weeks

The Madrid, Spain-based independent power producer (IPP) began development of the Kesses solar project in 2013, with the procurement of land. Covering an area of 10 hectares, the solar plant is expected to have an installed capacity of 55 MWp. According to IPP, the plant will produce 123,000 MWh of electricity per year, equivalent to the needs of about 245,000 Kenyan homes.

Read also-How solar energy is accelerating Africa’s electrification

The Kesses solar park is covered by a power purchase agreement (PPA) which stipulates that Alten will sell all the electricity produced to the state-owned Kenya Power Corporation (KPLC). The solar plant will therefore be connected to a pre-existing 230 kV transmission line between the Turkwel hydroelectric plant (56 MW) and the Lessos substation. This power line crosses the site of the plant.

The solar farm under construction is expected to begin providing clean electricity by spring 2022, which is just weeks away. According to PIDG, the plant will create 15 jobs during its operational phase. A high-impact project that Alten hopes to replicate. IPP is also developing a similar project in the Eldoret region (Kesses 2). With an expected capacity of 55 MWp, this second solar power plant will be connected to a 132 kV transmission line, which serves the city of Eldoret. According to the group led by Juan Laso, this second project is currently under discussion with the Kenyan state-owned company KPLC.

Jean Marie Takouleu 


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