The shs 13.5 billion Garissa solar plant project in Raya, Sankuri division, Balambala sub-county is on course and will be completed by September this year.
Touted as the biggest in East and Central Africa, the project lying on an 80 acre piece of land consists of 300,000 solar panels and is part of the long term programme to replace the expensive and environmental hazardous diesel powered engines.
Speaking during an inspection tour at the plant Tuesday, the CEO of Rural Electrification Authority (REA) Peter Mbugua said that the project will inject an additional 54 megawatts of power into the national grid as the country moves towards adopting emerging clean energy technology.
Mbugua said the project is being implemented by the Kenya government but funded by EXIM bank of China.
On completion, the power from the plant will be connected to the national grid Raya sub-station.
“We are happy with the progress of the project. We have a target to deliver this project in September. The local leadership has helped us in achieving this,” Mbugua said.
“Most important is that the project will go a long way in stabilising the power supply in Garissa town and its environs,” he added.
Mbugua who was accompanied by engineers from China Jiangxi International Kenya limited said once completed the plant will light over 200,000 households.
The CEO added that government was in consultation with other development partners with a view of expanding the projects to other counties among them Wajir and Mandera.
The development is good news to residents of Garissa, the town that has been described as one of the fastest growing in the country.
With improved security, small scale industrial investors will have the opportunity to open up food processing industries as well help boost irrigation farming along the river Tana.
This comes barely a year after President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the national grid power line from Kindaruma constructed by the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (KETRACO)
Frequent power black outs in Garissa were becoming a nuisance because the aging diesel powered engines were breaking down for days plunging the town into darkness.