Prospects for grid-connected solar PV in Kenya
Author(s)Rose, Amy Michelle
Prospects for grid-connected solar photovoltaics in Kenya
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.
Robert J. Stoner and Ignacio J. Pérez-Arriaga.
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Kenya's electric power system is heavily reliant on hydropower, leaving it vulnerable during recurring droughts. Supply shortfalls are currently met through the use of expensive leased diesel generation. Therefore, plans for new generation focus on geothermal and conventional thermal sources. While these technologies offer a lower-cost alternative to leased diesel, they require large upfront capital investments in new infrastructure. I propose that grid-connected solar PV offers an alternative solution to displace expensive diesel generation, while capitalizing on Kenya's abundant solar resource and avoiding large upfront financing requirements. Coordinated operation of Kenya's extensive reservoir hydro capacity can overcome intermittency problems associated with solar generation and offer a low-cost path to grid-connected solar PV by eliminating the need for additional investment in storage. This study uses a static expansion planning model of Kenya's power system representing the years 2012 and 2017 to evaluate the feasibility of grid-connected solar PV under different price and hydrological conditions. These results reveal that high penetrations of solar PV can be integrated into the current system without increasing total system costs. By 2017 extensive planned investments in low-cost geothermal, imported hydro, and wind power will significantly reduce production from fuel oil plants and solar PV is no longer economically competitive at current prices. The 2017 analysis does not evaluate scenarios where the price of solar PV decreases, new capacity is delayed, or PV capacity eliminates the need for new transmission infrastructure required for planned generation assets. Any of these scenarios increases the competitiveness of solar PV in the 2017 system. The methodology developed in this study could be used for system level evaluation of solar and other intermittent renewables in other hydro-dominated electric power systems in Africa.
Thesis (S.M. in Technology and Policy)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, 2013.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 187-195).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Engineering Systems Division.