Visit to the PDP reference project Shalima Flowers, East African Growers Enlarge

Visit to the PDP reference project Shalima Flowers, East African Growers

© GIZ / Blue Antelope Ltd

How do East African companies profit from self-produced solar power? This question was answered on the latest reference project trip. The focus was on successful photovoltaic projects in Kenya implemented by German SMEs with technical support from the Project Development Programme of the German Energy Solutions Initiative.

Clean electricity from captive production – this is an opportunity for industrial companies in East Africa. With photovoltaics (PV), they can save money and reduce their ecological footprint.

Interest in the reference project trip of the Project Development Programme (PEP) on photovoltaic solutions for own consumption was therefore huge. 50 representatives of companies from Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda took part in the event in Kenya at the beginning of December 2021. The reference project trip, including a consulting workshop, took place as a combined online and on-site event.

Suppliers and buyers benefit

Reference project trips are among PDP's established and successful activities. Their team offer companies an opportunity to learn from peers who have successfully implemented photovoltaic projects. Particularly, implementation, products, services, and financing models are discussed. At the same time, the trips leave room for networking with other industries, stakeholders in the photovoltaic space, and renowned German companies. The projects are selected to reflect the framework conditions in the respective regions. During the visits, participants can get an idea of solar power technologies in use and learn about the benefits for users.

"The steps to realise rooftop PV systems are not always understandable for commercial and industrial users," Maryanne Maina, PDP Country Manager Kenya, describes the motivation behind the reference project trip. "Visiting specific reference projects was therefore a great opportunity to hear from industry peers about the development of PV projects and to learn how industries overcame perceived barriers to implementation. It presents an opportunity to share experience and knowledge about implementing projects in Kenya."

The reference project trip to Kenya first gave participants an overview of the German energy transition and the development of renewables in the commercial and industrial sectors in East Africa. Then, five German companies presented their expertise.

The projects - owning your own electricity makes you more independent

The local PDP team played a major role in the preliminary development of both reference projects presented. The first reference project presented during the trip, the Githunguri Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society Limited, was presented by Ecoligo GmbH. The solar company had designed a rooftop solar system for the well-known Kenyan manufacturer of dairy products. The 700-kilowatt system was implemented by the Kenyan general contractor Spenomatic Solar, which is also responsible for maintenance.

The second reference installation was a ground-mounted solar project by the German company Redavia Solar Power for Shalimar Flowers. In a twelve-year lease, this Kenyan producer of flowers and vegetables opted for photovoltaics in line with its sustainable corporate strategy. Solar power underscores the company's commitment to environmental and social issues and at the same time makes it less dependent on the grid and diesel generators. The photovoltaic system generates about 430 kilowatts of power, saving more than 90 tonnes of CO2 per year. Shalimar Flowers is a model that the Kenya Flower Council says should be followed, because the change from conventional to clean energy also improves the image of African flower growers in the buying countries.

Get started with your own project

The participants of the reference project trip to East Africa drew a positive conclusion. They particularly appreciated the opportunity to establish contacts with German specialised companies, to get to know quality technologies and to exchange best practices.

By getting in touch with the team of the Project Development Programme in Kenya, companies can receive similar free technical support and subsequent linkage to German companies specialized in photovoltaics and tailored to their specific needs.