Prospects for grid-connected solar PV in Kenya: A simulated economic and operational feasibility study
Author(s)Rose, Amy Michelle; Stoner, Robert James; Perez-Arriaga, Jose Ignacio
This paper analyzes the economic and technical potential for grid-connected solar PV in Kenya. A unit commitment model is used to evaluate the feasibility of grid-connected solar PV under different price and hydrological conditions in the years 2012 and 2017. In the model, Kenya’s extensive reservoir hydro system compensates for daily and seasonal solar intermittency, eliminating the need for investment in battery or other storage capacity. Results show that in the 2012 system the economic value per kW installed of high penetrations of solar PV is greater than the expected revenue under the existing Kenyan feed-in-tariff. This is because solar displaces more expensive fixed and leased fuel oil generation. Evaluation of solar PV under three possible generation mix and demand scenarios in 2017 reveals that the value of solar remains above revenues from the offered feed-in-tariff only if planned investments in low-cost geothermal, imported hydro, and wind power are delayed. The paper focuses on solar investment and no attempt has been made to estimate the theoretical optimal mix. We do not take into account differences in transmission investment associated with different types of generation, which seem likely to favor solar PV in most planning scenarios, nor do we assign monetary value to avoided carbon emissions. The methodology can also be used to estimate the potential for solar and other renewable deployment in many other African countries whose generation capacity is reservoir hydro dominated, or where baseload capacity is provided by costly fossil fuels such as diesel, kerosene, or liquefied natural gas.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2013-18