Alten Kenya Solarfarms BV (Alten), the Kenyan business of the Alten Group has commissioned the 40 megawatt (MW) Kesses solar power generation facility near Eldoret, in the Rift Valley region of Kenya. The project was built at a total cost of US$87 million.
Financing for the solar project was provided by the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), through the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), and the Standard Bank Group.
Electricity generated by the solar plant will be supplied to Kenya’s national grid through a 20-year take-or-pay power purchase agreement between Alten and the state-owned energy utility, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC).
“We are thrilled to see Kesses in action, further cementing Kenya’s status as a global renewable energy leader. Africa leads the world in solar energy potential, and more projects of this type are needed to ensure we meet the continent’s growing demand for energy without compromising GHG emissions,” said Sine Zulu, Investment Specialist at EAIF.
“Kenya is the ninth African country where EAIF has supported renewable energy projects, underlining the Fund’s status as a lender of choice for renewable energy companies investing in Africa,” adds Zulu.
EAIF highlighted that Kesses is a significant milestone for the investment firm which has now supported green electricity generation in nine African countries.
Standard Bank was the mandated lead arranger of the project finance to Alten, supplying US$41 million in debt comprising a term loan, VAT and Debt Service Reserve facility. Standard Bank is operated through its CIB division in South Africa, and its Kenya subsidiary, Stanbic Bank Kenya Limited.
“Standard Bank is one of the leading lenders to the Kenyan IPP sector and we were delighted to partner with EAIF in bringing the Kesses solar project to operation. Alten is a long-term client of Standard Bank, having supported them in Namibia as well,” said Sherrill Byrne, Executive Energy and Infrastructure Finance at Standard Bank.
The Kesses solar project created approximately 400 construction jobs, with an additional 15 permanent jobs to be sustained during the facility’s operations phase.