The Untapped Potential of Solar Energy in Kenya: Factors Limiting the Integration of Solar PV into the Electricity Grid

Solar energy has been highlighted as a potentially important source of renewable energy for Kenya’s green economy transitions as well as the country’s intended national commitments to the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goal Number 7. However, the role that solar energy is going to play in the electricity generation mix in Kenya is still uncertain. This paper identifies and analyses the factors limiting the integration of solar PV into the electricity grid. Based on the data collected from interviews over a two-month period in Kenya, the working paper completes an investigation of the institutional structure, an analysis of the policy framework and an assessment of the market dynamics of the country. The findings demonstrate that the weak grid infrastructure, and the centralization of power in the electricity sector along with the lagging electricity demand are the main factors impeding the adoption of solar PV within the Kenyan grid. However, the rapid decline in global solar PV prices as well as the advancements in renewable energy storage and the recent entry into force of the Paris Agreement might change the story.