US firm partners with Kenya Power to supply solar power

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According to the partnership, users will only be charged for the electricity consumed at discounted rates. Industrial and commercial buildings will have solar power systems installed at no cost with users for an average period of 15 years.

Ownership of the solar plant is then transferred to the customer after the period.

“We offer discounts of between 10 and 20 per cent on what businesses pay for our solar power in comparison to market rates,” CrossBoundary regional portfolio lead Pieter Joubert said.

The solar systems come with backup storage batteries that ensure reliable power for institutions not connected to the power grid even in the absence of sunlight.

The US firm provides solar financing solutions, including power purchase agreements with customers alongside lease agreements, while Solarcentury does the actual installation. Both firms have offices in Nairobi.

CrossBoundary joins a growing list of private companies that sell electricity outside Kenya Power

They include US-based Powerhive that has more than 2,000 households in Kisii as clients, Nairobi-based PowerGen that operates solar micro-grids in Isiolo and Vulcan, owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, with 10 solar mini-grids in Kajiado and Samburu.

Kenya Power has been the sole supplier and seller of power, denying the sector competitiveness.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed utility firm buys power from producers like Kenya Electricity Generating Company for onward sale to customers.