Enel, Powerhive Partner on Landmark Rural Electrification Project
Posted 17 December 2015 7:00 AM by Marc Van Gerven
One-in-six human beings have no access to electricity, making energy poverty one of the greatest socio-economic challenges of our time.
Recent announcements by Enel Green Power (EGP) and Powerhive on EGP’s majority investment in a portfolio of rural electrification minigrids in Kenya demonstrate how solar energy installations have become a commercially viable solution to the global “energy access” challenge. The portfolio, developed by First Solar-backed Powerhive, includes minigrid projects with a total installed capacity of 1 megawatt (MW), to be built in the western part of Kenya.
The sale by Powerhive is a first for the industry, proving that rural electrification projects are an attractive and profitable option for major Independent Power Providers (IPP) such as EGP.
“This union… [is an] ideal implementation of innovative solutions able to integrate the electrification of rural areas with generation from renewables, storage facilities as well as advanced billing systems,” said Francesco Venturini, CEO of EGP in a press release. EGP, one of the world’s largest IPPs, is strongly engaged in a broad strategy of off-grid electrification which includes several initiatives across company’s footprint in Africa, Latin America and Asia. The Powerhive deal is the industry’s first in which an IPP has acquired a fully developed portfolio of projects in one move.
Powerhive had previously demonstrated in Kenyan minigrid pilot programs how electricity service from these installations supports small entrepreneurial businesses and critical community services such as health clinics and schools, providing a long term and scalable energy service to meet the current and future energy needs of customers. The EGP portfolio will bring electricity to 20,000 households, small businesses, schools and healthcare facilities, and connect approximately 90,000 people to reliable electrical grids.