Solarcentury has raised an undisclosed round of funding from PE firm Actis Investment to design and construct Africa’s largest solar carport on the uppermost storey of a car park at Garden City Mall, part of the new 32-acre integrated residential, retail park, hotel and office development on Nairobi’s Thika Superhighway.
According to Dr Dan Davies, Director for Solarcentury in East Africa, “We are incredibly proud to be bringing our second dual-mode solar system to Kenya, this time to build East Africa’s largest rooftop system. The unique dual-mode technology system we have developed is perfect for urban areas where land is at a premium yet energy needs to be supplied near to demand. Installing the panels on the roof of a car park makes use of otherwise functionless roof space. The technology is also being used in East Africa’s largest ground mount system for Williamson Tea in Kenya, reducing the company’s energy bills by around a third. ”
The 858kWp system has been financed under NVI Energy’s Solar4Africa, a 12 year financed solution that enables Garden City to harness the power of renewable energy, overcoming many of the barriers that can frequently beset commercial solar projects.
As well as providing shade, the 3,300 solar panels on the carports will generate 1256 MWh per year, and cut carbon emissions by around 745 tonnes per year. The dual-mode technology is a highly innovative energy solution that provides solar energy in the daytime meaning less is used from the grid; and when the grid is down, the system also reduces the consumption of costly diesel back up. The system is able to operate in dual-mode to ensure a consistent energy supply whilst reducing diesel and grid consumption, for a more environmentally friendly energy solution as well as reducing tenants energy bills.
The installation of the solar panels will help Garden City achieve its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. The new development is set to be a showcase for environmental design, incorporating a range of energy saving solutions.
Actis Investment Principal Koome Gikunda said the turn-key solution could produce clean power and pay for itself with the energy it produces.