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Kenyan Solar Power Projects Scarce Despite Potential

Kenyan solar power projects are designed to be available to individual consumers in rural areas, but funding remains scarce despite the market’s potential.

Importing a finished solar pack capable of generating electricity with of a solar panel, batteries and an inverter costs $800 along with a $40 governmental inspection, but importing the components to manufacture these products raises their cost significantly above market prices.

Despite solar power costs plummeting 60 percent since 2005 in the international market due to technological advances and increased manufacturing efficiency, the development of rural solar power remains a largely untapped market in Kenya, even though polysilicon, the main raw material in photovoltaic solar panels has declined a further 33 per cent to about $50 a kilogram in the global market since June, Nairobi’s Business Daily reported.

This declining price for polysilicon has lowered production costs in the $35 billion global market for photovoltaic devices, and many analysts believe that it will fuel global interest in solar power.

Despite the country’s potential, Kenyan solar power production is currently three percent of the country’s total energy output, which many analysts attribute to outdated government policies.

SolarWorks Ltd. managing director Dickson Muchiri, whose firm imports solar equipment noted, "We pay between 2.5 and five percent to import solar equipment, one would therefore save more importing finished products."

By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com


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