ICIPE launches 1.1 MW Solar PV plants

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The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) has officially commissioned two solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants — at its Duduville Campus headquarters in Kasarani, Nairobi, and at the Thomas Odhiambo Campus on the shores of Lake Victoria. The USD2.5 million system is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

“This project is part of the Greening of icipe initiative, which, in addition to renewable energy, also includes energy saving and water harvesting, and conservation measures, with the aim of reducing the Centre’s carbon footprint and making its environment more eco-friendly,” noted icipe Director General and CEO, Dr Segenet Kelemu.

The solar PV plants, part of which have been operational since December 2016, have a combined generating capacity of 1156 kiloWatt peak (kWp). As a result, icipe now has a sustainable energy supply as well as reduced diesel fuel dependency. Importantly, as a result of this system, icipe will be able to offset an average of over 400 tonnes of carbon annually.

The plants consist of a total of 3984 PV modules installed on rooftops on both icipe campuses. Another 220 PV modules have been fixed on various facades, such as carports. In addition, a hybrid system consisting of battery banks capable of supplying up to five hours of uninterrupted power, has been installed at the icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus in western Kenya.

The design and construction of the icipe solar PV plants was undertaken by Solarcentury East Africa.

“The official inauguration of the icipe solar PV plants is a great milestone for Solarcentury. Not only is the project our largest to date in Kenya, it is also our first large scale battery system in Africa. Overall, we are pleased to have supported the Greening of icipe initiative,” said Daniel Davies, General Manager Africa, Solarcentury.

“icipe is a longstanding partner of SDC, leading to significant progress in improving the livelihoods of communities across Africa. We are now extremely proud to support the Centre in its current mission of greening its operations,” commented Guinand Yves, Senior Thematic Advisor, Rural Development, SDC.

In addition to the solar PV plants, all the other components of the Greening of icipe initiative are on track. For example, approximately four acres of the Duduville Campus is now covered with over 30 different types of grasses, trees, plants and flowers, as a way of enhancing carbon storage. The Centre has also upgraded its electrical systems to increase efficiency, installed LED lights, which are more energy conserving, and replaced equipments with more energy and fuel-efficient ones, as necessary. Water harvesting and measures to optimise water usage have also been instituted.

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