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Kenya’s industry turning to mass produced solar concentrators

2022-06-22

As fuel prices soar, Kenya is turning to solar concentrators to heat industrial processes. Iberafrica Power (E.A.) Limited in Nairobi, one of Kenya’s leading Independent Power Producers (IPPs), is enjoying the benefits of solar heating since the beginning of May after successful commissioning of a 330 m2 solar installation made by Absolicon and Nairobi-based partner Ariya Finergy, which consisted of Absolicon solar collectors T160. In just a short period of time the field had produced more than 12.7 MWh, operating at very high performances, and confirming expectations on delivery.

Absolicon and Ariya Finergy delivered a 330 m2 aperture area solar thermal field to Iberafrica Power (E.A.) Limited in Nairobi, Kenya. The Absolicon installations team, on-site during early May 2022, have been overseeing the commissioning of the solar thermal field. In two weeks, the pilot installation had already produced over 12.7 MWh.

The solar field is operating at very high-performance levels during the initial days, confirming our expectations” says Loick Bruand, project manager and process engineer at Absolicon.

The elevated structure of the Absolicon T160 field, 5.5m from the ground, showcases the flexibility and modularity of Absolicon technology and its ability to maximize the available space and the irradiation on the installation.

Iberafrica, one of Kenya’s leading Independent Power Producers (IPPs) with a capacity of 52.5MW, was acquired by A.P. Moller Capital as an effective platform for it to invest further in greenfield and brownfield power and energy infrastructure assets in Kenya.

In line with its climate change agenda and ongoing cost management initiatives, Iberafrica identified the Absolicon T160 solar thermal collectors as the ideal solution to offset its carbon footprint and provide process heating for the power plant.

Jeff Kimanthi, Technical Manager at Iberafrica: “We have witnessed a seamless operation of the solar thermal system since its commissioning in early May. The power plant’s heating load and accompanying costs that erstwhile were supplied by electricity through heating coils and a HFO steam boiler have now been significantly displaced.”

The solar thermal installation of 330 m2 aperture area is provided by Ariya Finergy, which is a Nairobi-based engineering, construction, and financing firm that develops and builds renewable energy and power stabilization projects for critical commercial and industrial facilities. Ariya Finergy used Absolicon solar collectors delivered directly from Sweden to Nairobi. The solar field provides energy for fluid pre-heating and delivers 95 °C temperature. Installation of the collectors was made in December 2021.

Troy Barrie, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Ariya Finergy: “We are proud to partner with Absolicon and Iberafrica on this first-of-its-kind project in East Africa. We have the experience and expertise to continue the momentum and deliver further solar thermal projects to help drive Kenya and East Africa forward.”

To integrate the solar field to the Iberafrica plant in Nairobi, Absolicon has provided a custom solar central shipped directly from Sweden.

Plans for a production line of Absolicon collectors in Kenya operated by Ariya Finergy now proceeds with on-site visits at the installation to showcase the technology to other prospects in the country.

Absolicon is in parallel preparing installation and commissioning for several solar installations around the world with companies such as Carlsberg in Greece.

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