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Bidco To Install 3,920 Solar Panels On Its Rooftops In A Bid To Cut Energy Costs.

Thika-Based Bidco Africa Ltd. plans to install 3,920 solar panels on the rooftops of its buildings in a bid to cut its energy costs.

The 1.2 megawatt (MW) solar plant is set to start in June and will take six months to complete, eventually saving millions of shillings in power costs annually for Kenya’s leading manufacturer of edible oils, cooking fats, soaps, and detergents.
The project is also set to shrink the company’s carbon footprint as emissions drop. Bidco currently generates 70% of its energy needs from sawdust, macadamia husks and other agricultural waste through co-generation.

Solar energy, priced at between Sh6 and Sh7 per kilowatt hour (kWh) will be for Bidco’s exclusive use. At Sh7, the solar plant electricity is about the same price as geothermal energy and about three times cheaper than diesel generated power.

“We have plenty of rooftop space available and this project can put our energy situation in our own hands, at an affordable price, which is a fantastic position to be in,” Bidco chief executive Vimal Shah said in a statement.

Bidco joins Centum Investment which is constructing a 2 MW solar plant to power its Two Rivers Development-- a Nairobi-based real estate project that is designed to host the largest shopping mall in the East and Central Africa region.

Bidco’s solar project will be developed by Astonfield Solar.

Companies developing solar plants in the country include Kenyan firms Kopere Solar Park and Kenya Solar Energy, each with an installed capacity of 40 MW to be injected to the national grid.

Garden City Mall on Nairobi’s Thika Road launched a solar carport last September that generates part of the electricity consumed at the shopping complex. Strathmore University has installed solar panels with a capacity of 0.6 MW.

Others are UK firm Solarcentury, Green Energy Africa and Greenmillenia Energy.

“The 1.2 megawatt-peak (MWp) capacity project will generate over 1.8 million kilowatt hours (kWh) and deliver power at half the grid cost saving Bidco about Sh650 million over its 25-year life cycle,” says Vimal.

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