GlaxoSmithKline installs US$1.66m solar power plant at its Nairobi factory

KENYABritain’s healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has installed a Sh108 million (US$1.66 million) solar plant at its Nairobi factory to reduce energy costs.

The drugmaker joins the bandwagon of cost savings-chasing heavy-consuming power users in the country who have turned to cheaper and reliable alternative energy sources.

GSK Site Director Paul Arunga said in a statement that the solar switch will reduce the drug maker’s energy costs by 50 percent, resulting in savings of Sh2 million (US$18,400) per month.

“Embodying the solar technology as an organization has helped us lower power costs, a significant component in our product cost, hence enabling us to be more competitive and to deliver our products at better prices to our customers,” said Mr. Arunga.

GSK contracted Ofgen, a Nairobi-based commercial and industrial power developer, to install 1.05MWp captive solar on the roofs and car park of its Nairobi plant.

Greenhouse gas emissions

Kenya has committed to lowering her greenhouse gas emissions by 32 percent by 2030. We are happy that as a company, we are on the right track by offering clean energy solutions to industries, companies and even households,” said Ofgen Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Jibril Omar in a statement.

Ofgen said it has installed similar solar units for cigarette maker British American Tobacco (BAT Kenya), automaker Toyota Kenya, hospitality group Serena Hotels and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) among others.

“Embodying the solar technology as an organization has helped us lower power costs, a significant component in our product cost, hence enabling us to be more competitive and to deliver our products at better prices to our customers”

Paul Arunga – Site Director, GSK

Over the next 3 years, Ofgen is targeting to provide over 50MWp of affordable, reliable, and clean power generated on-site to its customers, leading to enhanced productivity and competitiveness of Kenyan industries, it added.

Clean power supply

Households and heavy-consuming industrialists in Kenya have over the past five years turned to solar, seeking reliable and cheaper clean power supply.

Big power consumers such as Africa Logistics Properties (ALP), Mombasa International Airport, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) have recently commissioned solar power units on their properties.

In a bid to stay relevant and protect its long-term revenues increasingly threatened by a fast uptake of solar panels installations by its main customers, Kenya Power announced in February 2021 it will also join the solar business.

The utility firm is eager to cash in rather than losing out on the millions of solar kits being mounted on the roofs of commercial and industrial facilities and business premises around the country said it plans to install panels in private houses and office blocks with the promise of cheap uninterrupted electricity.

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