RENEWABLE ENERGY

Unilever launches first solar plant at Kericho tea factory

Sustainable energy

In Summary

•This is the first on-site solar installation for a Unilever facility in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Unilever Tea Kenya 619kWp Solar plant in Kericho. This is the first on-site solar installation for a Unilever facility in Sub-Saharan Africa. It brings the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of total renewables for its operations.
The Unilever Tea Kenya 619kWp Solar plant in Kericho. This is the first on-site solar installation for a Unilever facility in Sub-Saharan Africa. It brings the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of total renewables for its operations.
Image: courtesy

Unilever's Kericho tea factory will save on power costs after a 619 kWp solar plant was commissioned at the site.

Sylvia ten Den, Managing Director of Unilever Tea Kenya, says, “Installation of solar power at our Kericho operations delivers on our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint. By reducing the use of energy, raw materials and natural resources, we create efficiencies and cut costs, while becoming less exposed to price volatility. Besides being more cost-efficient this will save 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over 15 years”.

This was through a partnership between Unilever and CrossBoundary Energy which saw the first on-site solar installation for a Unilever facility in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With the addition of solar PV to its existing hydroelectric and biomass resources, over 90 per cent of Unilever Tea Kenya’s energy needs will now be met with clean energy.

CrossBoundary Energy sells power from the solar plant to Unilever via an innovative 15-year power purchase agreement.

Since the system’s installation and testing is complete, Unilever will begin paying for solar electricity, and CrossBoundary Energy will continue to manage and finance future project operations, maintenance, monitoring, and insurance.

“Access to reliable, affordable energy is one of the biggest constraints to business growth in Africa. CrossBoundary is supporting the continent’s leading brands like Unilever to adopt solar solutions across their operations in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Femi Fadugba, Head of Business Development for CrossBoundary Energy said.

In Kericho, the solar PV panels are installed on a rotating mounting structure that tracks the movement of the sun throughout the day, increasing the plant’s power output by 20 percent.

It is the largest commercial single-axis tracking installation in Kenya to date.