Canadian Company Doubles Kenyan Solar Power Investment To $4.4B

Written by Dana Sanchez

Canadian solar developer SkyPower said it plans to double its investment in Kenya’s solar infrastructure to $4.4 billion after meeting with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in New York, according to a report in PVTech.

The company previously announced in July a $2.2 billion investment agreement with Kenya, agreeing to develop 1 gigawatt of utility scale projects in the country.

However Toronto-based SkyPower has now upped its commitment, saying it will establish a research and development center in the Kenya as part of its increased investment.

SkyPower is a company started by Lehman Brothers survivor Kerry Adler, according to an earlier AFKInsider report. His plan is to build a $12-billion solar empire across the world.

Adler has also promised to invest $4.3 billion in Bangladesh’s fledgling solar PV industry, RechargeNews reports.

In July Skypower announced its first agreement to invest $2.2 billion in Kenya’s solar energy at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, July 25-26. U.S. President Barack Obama attended the meeting. SkyPower’s agreement was in response to Obama’s call for closer business relations with Africa, CitizenDigital reports.

At the time, Adler, president and CEO of SkyPower, said in a statement that the investment marked “the largest single commitment in history, which provides an unprecedented solar solution to give power to the people of Kenya and communities without access to basic power.”

Adler agreed in July to donate 2 million home solar kits to Kenya, prompting concerns about unfair advantages in the market.

“Systematic reductions on retail prices, and especially free giveaways, signal to consumers that they do not need to pay full retail price — or pay at all — for these goods, and consumers will accordingly hold out for reduced-cost or free goods in the future, regardless of whether they will ever come,” the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association said in the Opinion Brief.

At a New York City meeting last week of the Business Council for International Understanding, SkyPower said it will donate more than 3,000 solar-powered street lamps to Kenya in addition to the 2 million solar home kits.

“We are impressed by how the (Kenyan) government has conducted itself in a professional and pro-business manner and we are committed to increase our investment in Kenya,” Adler said, according to CitizenDigital.

Kenyatta said last week that Kenya wants to scale up business links with the U.S. Since July, Kenya has created new regulations to make the country more open for investment including the Companies Act and Insolvency Act, Kenyatta said.

“The environment for doing business is changing and there are huge opportunities for U.S. companies to get a foothold in Kenya,” Kenyatta said.

SkyPower has secured several “record-low” bids for projects in India, causing concern among some industry stakeholders, PVTech reported.

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