President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday said the government, in partnership with the World Bank, has committed 15 billion shillings ($148 million) under the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project to improve energy access in 14 counties with low electrification rates.
He pointed out that through the off-grid solar access initiative, the government seeks to provide energy to 250,000 households and more than 800 public facilities in the 14 counties.
The programme is part of the government’s broader target of attaining an additional 1.9 million solar-based connections through the Kenya National Electrification Strategy that was launched in 2018.
“To achieve our electrification programme through off-grid solutions, my administration recognizes the importance of partnering with the private sector,” the President said.
Kenyatta made the announcement when he presided over the official opening of the 6th Global Off-Grid Solar Forum and Expo in Nairobi.
The biennial meeting which is organised by GOGLA, the global association for the off-grid solar energy industry, and the World Bank's Lighting Global Program, seeks to accelerate the development of the global off-grid solar market as part of efforts towards the achievement of universal energy access target by 2030.
Kenyatta assured of the government’s focus on providing an enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive in the provision of off-grid solar products and services.
“We have given import duty exemptions on a range of solar products to ensure both profitability for investors as well as affordability and high quality products on the part of consumers,” the president said.
“Evidence is abound that to realise sustained social economic development, provision of sufficient and clean electricity is a critical enabler," he said.
Noting that Kenya has been recognized as the world’s second largest stand-alone solar market after India, President Kenyatta commended the achievement but said there was still vast untapped potential and room for greater growth.
“We have achieved this feat on the basis of 6.2 million verified sales of solar products since 2009 and 14 million people accessing improved energy through off-grid solar solutions between the years 2016 and 2018.
“In 2019, we continued this upward trend, achieving 2 million sales of solar products. This tremendous growth in the uptake of off-grid solar solutions is an integral part of my administration’s strategy towards the realization of universal access to electricity,” he said.