Africa’s largest solar carport was opened in Nairobi yesterday at the Garden City Mall on Thika Superhighway.
Instead of the ordinary car park canopies shielding cars from the sun, the carport has been equipped with 3,300 solar panels.
The panels will generate 1,256 MWh annually and cut carbon emission by 745 tonnes a year, according to SolarCentury and Solar Africa, the companies that worked on the new parking lot.
The solar electricity it generates is being used by the mall for lighting and powering escalators.
The solar carport is powerful enough to power 550 urban homes in Nairobi every year.
During the launch, Energy PS Joseph Njoroge said the government is committed to renewable energy to ensure a safe and healthy environment free of harmful emissions.
He said the solar panelled carport is an innovation.
Njoroge urged investors to replicate the idea in carparks countrywide.
The PS said the Energy ministry is committed to instal power in homes countrywide using the existing electricity grid.
This would be complemented with renewable energy, including biomass, wind and solar energy.
The PS said the Garden City Mall power system can be used as a demonstration plant by investors in renewable energy sectors.
Acti’s Kenya director Koome Gikunda said the solar carport will improve business at the mall.
Founder and CEO of SolarAfrica James Irons said his company wants to fund solar power solutions for commercial and industrial projects across Africa.
The Garden City Mall carport will be paid for based on the power it produces, he said.
SolarAfrica will operate and maintain the system for 12 years while providing guarantees covering power and equipment performance.
Irons said the mall management did not need to pay all the upfront costs to design, procure and instal the system.
British High Commissioner Christian Turner attended the launch.