Currently, Kenya depends mainly on oil, geothermal energy and hydro resources for electricity production, however all three have associated issues. Oil-based electricity generation is environmentally harmful, expensive and a burden to the national trade balance. The rivers for hydropower and their tributaries are found in arid and semi-arid areas with erratic rainfall leading to problems of supply security, and geothermal exploitation has cost and risk issues amongst others. Given these problems and the fact that Kenya has a significant yet underexploited potential for photo voltaic (PV)-based power generation, the limited—although growing—exploitation of solar PV in Kenya is explored in this paper as a means of diversifying and stabilising electricity supply. The potential for integration of PV into the Kenyan electricity generation mix is analysed together with the sociotechnical, economic, political, and institutional and policy barriers, which limit PV integration. We argue that these barriers can be overcome with improved and more robust policy regulations, additional investments in research and development, and improved coordination of the use of different renewable energy sources. Most noticeably, storage solutions and other elements of flexibility need to be incorporated to balance the intermittent character of electricity generation based on solar PV.
- Pumped hydro storage