The government has partnered with the World Bank to commit Sh15 billion for the Kenya off-grid solar project to boost energy access in 14 counties.
While speaking during the sixth Global off-grid solar forum, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the government seeks to provide energy to 250,000 households and more than 800 public facilities in the targetted counties.
“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 by the year 2020,” said President Kenyatta.
According to the World Bank, approximately 10 million people are now meeting their basic electricity needs with solar grid products.
The bank says that 39.6 percent have access to electricity in rural areas while 77.6 percent have access to power in urban areas, with 9.8 million people already covered under solar.
“We are planning to address the emerging financial needs and we will continue to provide the government of Kenya and other governments funding for off-grid solar electrification,” said Mr. Carlos Filipe, World Bank Country Director for Kenya.
Although the market for off-grid lighting and energy products continues to grow in rural Kenya, uptake in the North and North Eastern counties lags far behind as 70 percent of the population is affected by poverty.
However, Kenyan players in the energy sector are gearing up to ensure that more Kenyans have access to electricity at an affordable rate.
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.
Since 2013, the number of Kenyans with access to electricity has more than tripled from 2.2 million in 2013 to 7.2 million currently.