Nairobi shopping malls have turned to rooftop solar-powered stations for own use like lighting, powering escalators and lifts in efforts to cut their hefty energy costs.
Galleria Mall, on the city outskirts along Langata Road, is going to be the latest shopping complex to tap solar for its daytime energy needs. It’s set to join Garden City Mall on Thika Road and Two Rivers as the other malls that have constructed captive solar projects for own use.
The 0.56MW Galleria rooftop solar plant was to be completed last quarter of last year, but suffered delays.
The completion date has now been moved to the second quarter of this year.
“We had some logistical issues shipping in the equipment. From manufacturing, to shipping in and clearing at the Mombasa port. Now that it has arrived in the country, we expect to complete it anywhere between the first quarter and May,” said Solarcentury East Africa director Roberto Martin – the contractor.
“Investment in solar by businesses is good economics. With solar, large consumers tend to have some control over their long-term power costs besides fostering ecofriendly workplace practices,” he added.
Aside from slashing costs, the private solar projects are collectively helping reduce the country’s carbon footprint.
The World Bank last year lauded Kenya as “the birthplace of a flourishing private solar industry.”
This comes as more large power consumers including manufacturers and shopping malls cut reliance on power from the national grid, with their daytime operations being powered by solar plants perched on rooftops of their buildings and carports. Kenya Power’s supply has been limited to mostly nighttime operations and during brief periods when sunlight drops.
The switch to solar is largely motivated by need to lighten monthly power bills of businesses.