Kenya's Xago Africa to Undertake $500 million Solar Project in Zambia

Kenya's Xago Africa to Undertake $500 million Solar Project in Zambia

A renewable energy company based in Nairobi has entered into a top - dollar contract in Zambia to build a 300-megawatt solar power plant, becoming the latest energy company with Kenyan roots to branch out and bag lucrative cross - border deals.

In a joint venture with Zambian company Blue Chip Resources, Xago Africa is undertaking a mega project in central Zambia at an estimated cost of over Sh50 billion ($ 500 million).

Once operational, the electricity generated will be introduced into the national grid “aimed at expanding generation capacity, re-balancing the dependency on hydropower and supporting the rural electrification programme.”

The Kenyan company consortium and its Zambian counterpart have appointed Solarcentury East Africa, a UK based firm as their technical advisor and construction partner.

Xago now joins GL Africa Energy, a firm owned by Kenyan tycoon Humphrey Kariuki but registered in the UK, in winning top dollar tenders across borders in African markets.

Nearer to Kenya, Xago is building East Africa's first utility - scale solar storage battery for its 40MW solar power station to be built in West Kenya and connected to the national power grid.American battery storage manufacturer Alevo shall be providing technical expertise to the company.

The solar park located in the lakeside county of Siaya is could cost approximately Sh7 billion ($70 million). A part of the funding would come from Power Africa initiative, the brainchild of former US President Barack Obama.

The storage battery project puts Kenya among nations currently seeking various technologies for solar power storage on a mass scale, beyond smaller solar-powered batteries for cars and households.

Even in the absence of sunlight, the back - up batteries ensure reliable supply of power for the grid.

The Siaya solar farm’s electricity, is expected to be introduced into the national grid upon completion.

Solar experts considers Kenya as a region with high potential given the high radiation levels from the sun throughout the year.

The amount of electricity that can be produced from solar energy depends on the intensity of sunlight not heat levels.

In addition to solar projects, Xago Africa also has the construction of the 115MW Magwagwa hydropower plant on Sondu River in Nyamira County in its pipeline .

“Xago Africa secured funding commitments of $780 million (Sh78 billion) in a combination of debt and equity from funding partners,” the company says.