Hydrobox & SolarNow build hybrid solar + hydro power plant in Kenya

Hydrobox and SolarNow have announced the successful commissioning of their first hybrid solar + hydro power plant built in Kenya. The company announced the project at REFA, a renewable energy investment forum organised by AFSIA and SolarPower Europe.
Hydrobox & SolarNow build hybrid solar + hydro power plant in Kenya
Courtesy of Renewable Energy Forum Africa (REFA).

The Gitwamba power plant was designed as a hybrid hydro and solar power plant because the flow rate of the river differs a lot between the dry and rainy seasons. The solar system provides additional power during the dry season, while the hydro plant provides additional capacity during the rainy season, providing the customers in Kirinyaga County with a stable base load day and night.

This combination provides stable electrical output throughout the year, regardless of the dry or rainy season. This combines the best of both worlds and mitigates the effects of climate change, which makes the seasons more unpredictable.

The Gitwamba hydropower plant has a capacity of 170 kW. The hydropower component has an installed capacity of 50 kW at a design flow of 0.65 m3/s. The solar component has an installed capacity of 150 kWp and a capacity of 120 kVA (120 kW).

Hydrobox is a pioneering company specializing in the development of small run-of-river hydro power projects. By harnessing the power of rivers, Hydrobox designs and builds sustainable energy solutions that provide communities and businesses with reliable, eco-friendly electricity. These power stations are deployed in areas with poor or no access to energy and serve an ecosystem of anchor customers (large farms and factories), small businesses (schools, hospitals, shops, restaurants, etc.), and household customers through a self-owned mini grid.

SolarNow is a full-service solar EPC company that has operated in East Africa since 2011. The company was founded on the belief that everyone should have access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy. From a company delivering energy to over 50,000 rural consumers and small businesses, SolarNow has evolved into a Solar EPC active within the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) market in East Africa. SolarNow offers client financing solutions and supports Businesses as well as Institutions with design and installation of their Solar system solution. SolarNow is primarily active within the Education, Healthcare, Telecom, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Oil& Gas, Real Estate, and Non-Profit sectors.

HydroBox and SolarNow came together in this project aiming to address energy needs with a customer-first approach focusing on the specific local context and customer needs that are required when building appropriate energy solutions.

Addressing the African power challenges will require out-of-the-box thinking and collaboration between industry actors; new business models supported by the latest technology and flexible financing structures hold the potential to bring energy to the hardest to reach areas of the continent.

Implementing energy projects in partnership allows developers to tap into a wider pool of talent, skills and experience, ensuring high quality of work and long-term sustainability of projects

The project will be benefitting approximately 170 beneficiaries (resp. 150 households, 8 schools, 2 medical facilities, 10 businesses), and will result in the creation of 6 new direct jobs and an estimated 17 indirect jobs.

REFA continues at Sarit Center today (Friday October 6) with further discussions focusing on solar and storage technologies and project financing, as well as electric mobility.

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