A vibrant solar energy market has developed in Kenya over the years for providing electricity to homes and institutions remote from the national grid and for medium temperature water heaters for domestic and commercial usage.
A preliminary survey done in 2005 established that the annual market demand for Photo Voltaic (PV) panels was 500 kilowatt peak (kWp) and this was projected to grow at 15% annually.
The Government has zero-rated the import duty and removed Value Added Tax (VAT) on renewable energy equipment and accessories. The Energy Regulatory Commission has prepared and gazetted the Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations 2012 and The Energy (Solar Photovoltaic) Regulations 2012 to provide the much needed policy framework.
Due to the increase in adoption of solar energy in Kenya, Solar century East Africa will install a 500 kilo Watt solar photo voltaic system at Mombasa’s Moi International Airport that will generate 820,000 kW per hour per year.
The system will be interconnected to the airport terminal grid and will prioritize consumption of the solar power over the grid.
The solar system will enable Moi International Airport to save thousands of dollars per year on grid consumption for at least 25 years, while reducing aviation carbon emissions.
The project is part of a €6.5 million initiative, implemented by the International Civil Aviation Organization and funded by the European Union targeting 14 countries to reduce CO2 emissions in the aviation sector.
Solar century will also install airport gate electrification equipment consisting of a mobile electric-powered pre-conditioned air unit (PCA) and an electric power converter that will provide uninterrupted power to the PCA.
This marks the first airport to have a solar PV system installed in East Africa.
Jane Hupe, Deputy Director Environment at International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said the implementation of the “solar-at-gate” projects is a good example of how to reduce CO2 emissions and achieve greater sustainability in the aviation sector by using renewable energy technology.
“There is a great interest from ICAO Member States to embark on these projects and the availability of funding from partners will allow ICAO to support their replication at a global scale,” said Hupe.
Kenya Airports Authority CEO, Mr Jonny Andersen said the expected savings on electricity as well as a reduction in carbon emissions will contribute towards the efficient operations of Moi International Airport.
Work on the site will take 10 months and the systems are expected to be generating solar electricity by 2019.
Solarcentury will provide two years of Operations and Maintenance on the system, and will set up, two educational kiosks inside the terminal building to provide the public with real-time information on power output and carbon emission reductions over the life of the system.