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Becoming the First Carbon Neutral University in Kenya

  May 5, 2017
 

Thanks to SUNREF East Africa, Strathmore University was able to access financing to invest in the installation of the photovoltaic solar plan in Kenya. The SUNREF technical assistance was mobilized from the beginning in order to help identify the right partner for the project design and implementation, and then went on validating the final design for the benefit of both the University and the partner bank.

Strathmore University is a private university based in Nairobi with a focus on Business, Law, IT and Finance and Economics curriculum. To reduce its fossil energy consumption and to cut down on energy costs, Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) installed a 0.6 MW rooftop solar photovoltaic plant to cater for energy needs in implementing the project. Strathmore installed a fixed angle roof top solar photovoltaic system.

Strathmore decided to oversize the generation capability of the photovoltaic plant compared to the electricity consumption in order to export its excess electricity to the grid. This was technically and legally possible but had never been done before in Kenya.

Impacts

The project, which was completed in 2015, was a huge success and fully reached its objectives generating 31% of energy needs and saving up to 51% on the energy bill.

With this plant in place, SERC not only improved its corporate energy policy, but it also developed its training in renewable energy; the photovoltaic solar plant is now used as a live laboratory to train skilled technicians to design, install and maintain solar and energy efficiency installations. Therefore, SUNREF East Africa has contributed to bridge the gap in the energy skilled personnel in Kenya.

“Today, more than two years since commissioning we have received so many visitors who are ready to take up this bright journey and help reduce carbon emission and the consequent global warming. This is certainly a successful story and a great model for many in this region,” Prof. Izael Da Silva – DVC Research Strathmore University.

Furthermore, the University managed to sign the first solar photovoltaic Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in Kenya to export its excess energy to the grid, thus encouraging many project developers of solar projects to follow its example.



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