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Solar power firm targets 45,000 homes

A girl uses a candle at home.
A girl uses a candle at home. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A Busia-based Portuguese off-grid energy company says it targets selling solar-based renewable power to 45,000 households in Kenya after acquiring nine new off-grid clean energy sites in five counties.

RVE.SOL, which operates in Kenya as Kudura Power East Africa, said it acquired the Kenya sites from Seattle-based investment fund Vulcan founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen. The sites are in Marsabit, Turkana, Kajiado, Nakuru and Migori.

“The acquisition puts us well on our way to operating 50 sites and serving 45,000 people with renewable electricity by mid-2021,” RVE. SOL founder and managing director Vivian Vendeirinho said. “We are building more sites in Busia this year.”

The planned expansion coincides with undisclosed equity investment from New York-headquartered Acumen through its Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative (PEII) arm.

Acumen launched its $20 million (about Sh2 billion) Pioneer Energy Investment Initiative to invest in 2018 to “support, scale, and learn from innovative energy companies over the next three years.”

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“Acumen is honoured to partner with RVE.SOL, a company who is changing the way the world tackles poverty,” said Dennis Onyango, PEII investment lead for Acumen East Africa in a statement.

Kudura Power East Africa, its subsidiary, has demonstrated long-term commitment to providing first time access of grid-quality power to the last-mile, low-income, off-grid households and businesses in Kenya, the statement said.

Vulcan built the Kenya sites in 2014 for research activities.

In 2018, the Busia firm raised €2.5 million (about Sh292 million) from international investors to provide solar electricity and power its local expansion.

RVE. SOL then said the fresh capital will be channelled towards electrifying and providing clean water for up to 50,000 people in Busia County.

The firm obtained the regulatory green light to generate and sell electricity in March last year.

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