• A Sh252 million ($2.5 million) Solar power deal between Solarcentury East Africa and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (Icipe) will see the research institute install solar PV plants as a means to adopting sustainable green energy.

    Funded by the Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation (SDC) the scheme which is the largest solar investment in Kenya is part of the Greening of Icipe Initiative, which, in addition to renewable energy, also includes energy saving and water conservation measures, with the aim of reducing the Centre’s carbon footprint and making its environment eco-friendlier.

    The need for organizations and individuals to adopt off-the-main-grid power solutions is insatiable, as people seek to use cheaper and healthier alternatives.

    “Through this project, Icipe’s goal is to create a sustainable energy supply and to reduce diesel fuel dependency by constructing solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants at its Duduville Campus headquarters in Kasarani, Nairobi, and at the Icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus on the shores of Lake Victoria,” Icipe Director General Dr Segenet Kelemu said.

    Solarcentury will design and construct the solar system as well as offer maintenance for five years.

    A total of 4130 PV modules will be installed on rooftops on both Icipe campuses, (Kisumu and Nairobi) creating the largest rooftop solar PV plant in Kenya. Icipe hopes to cut its expenditure on diesel by October when the panels are expected to start generating solar electricity.

    The solar PV plants will have a combined generating capacity of 1154 kiloWatt peak (kWp).

    “We are always keen to partner with institutions that want to improve the sustainability of their operations. We are excited at this opportunity, which enables us to collaborate with Icipe, whose mission of safeguarding the environment aligns with our own mission of alleviating the impacts of climate change, and to enhance our growing portfolio of solar systems installations in Kenya,” noted Guy Lawrence, Director Solarcentury in East Africa.

    Guinand Yves, Senior Thematic Advisor Rural Development, SDC noted that Icipe and SDC have enjoyed a long-term partnership that has led to improved livelihoods of communities across Africa. He added that the organization was pleased and proud to support the Centre in its current mission of greening its operations.

    “Globally, incorporating ‘greening’ measures into operations is becoming more and more critical, especially as an enabling act of sustainable development. The Greening of Icipe Initiative is, therefore, commendable and it will hopefully serve as a worthwhile example for other institutions,” noted Dr Ralf Heckner, Swiss Ambassador to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

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