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Kenya’s renewable energy sector is set for a boost in September when a solar microgrid company plans to become the country’s first licensed private utility to sell power to the public, ending a half-century monopoly by the State electricity firm. Earlier this year, the Government granted Powerhive East Africa, an energy technology venture with its roots in the United States, a permit to supply electricity to rural homes in competition with 53-year-old grid giant Kenya Power. For over two years, Powerhive has been running pilot schemes in four villages in Kisii, providing around 1,500 people with solar power. Under the deal, the company will produce solar power and distribute it to rural off-grid communities, providing a clean, stable electricity supply on a “viable commercial basis”. Powerhive will begin generating and distributing electricity under its new licence to homes in the west Kenyan counties of Kisii and Nyamira from September.

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