Thursday, July 18, 2024

Flower Farm to Build Kenya’s First Floating Solar Station


Kenya’s first floating solar power station is set to be constructed by a flower farm, opening a new chapter in the country’s green energy technological prowess.

With a capacity of 69 kilowatt peak (kWp), the solar plant will be installed afloat a water reservoir for Rift Valley Roses – a family-owned rose-growing business located near Lake Naivasha, north of Kenya’s capital Nairobi. To do the job, the flower farm has tapped Ecoligo, a German crowd-investing company focused on commercial and industrial solar projects in emerging markets, reads a statement.

It is set to be Kenya’s maiden floating solar station, cementing the country’s green energy standing in the region. Already, Kenya is globally known to be among the largest producers of geothermal energy, pioneering new steam concepts like well-head technology.

A floating solar plant comprises an array of solar panels installed on a buoyant structure that floats on a body of water, typically a dam reservoir or a lake. Floating solar is still a nascent concept globally.

The proposed floating solar farm will sit atop the flower farm’s water reservoirs in Naivasha using a floating substructure.

The flower firm is not the only one going green. Two years ago, another Naivasha-based flower company, Oserian, introduced electric trucks known as tugs that are geothermal-powered to transport flowers from greenhouses to the packhouse, an innovation that has cut fossil fuel use, returning savings and shrinking the firm’s carbon footprint.

The floating project is also set to reduce electricity costs and shrink the carbon footprint for Rift Valleys Roses, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by up to 68 tonnes per year, according to Ecoligo estimates.

The floating project is set to be the second solar project for the Rift Valleys Roses Company, financed by Ecoligo following last year’s 75 kWp solar power plant.

The World Bank recently encouraged construction of floating solar projects on water citing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

About 1.5 hectares of reservoir area are typically needed to set up a 1 MW floating solar plant, for instance. Even then, factors such as the type of floats used and the distance from the shore for electrical design aspects may alter the estimates.

Read also: Ways to lift Kenya from global environmental ranking bottom list

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