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Garden City – Africa’s largest solar car port system

The starting-point

Garden City Mall is part of a 32-acre, $540m integrated residential, retail park, hotel and office development on Nairobi’s Thika Superhighway. The project was initiated by real estate developer, Actis.

Garden City wanted a solar solution that could produce clean power for the Mall, as a sustainable alternative to grid energy and pay for itself through the energy it produced.

Our solution

Solarcentury was chosen to design and construct Africa’s largest solar carport at Garden City, on the uppermost storey of the mall’s car park It’s the second largest photovoltaic (PV) system in Kenya, and Solarcentury East Africa’s third project in Kenya.

As well as providing 454 parking spaces and 6,000 m² of car park shade, the 3,366 solar panels on the carports will generate 1450 MWh of clean solar electricity per year.

The result

This solar electricity is used by Garden City’s retail tenants – over 120 major local and international retail brands, many of them opening their flagship stores in Kenya for the first time. The 858kWp system will also cut carbon emissions by around 750 tonnes a year.

The system is a hybrid, it provides solar energy in the daytime, meaning less is used from the grid, and when the grid is down it automatically switches over to provide power together with back-up generators.

Solar was a natural choice; solar production worldwide is doubling every two years, while the cost has dropped 100 times in the last 40 years. The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2050 solar will be the number one producer of electricity in the world.

The response

“Garden City is an example of how investment in regional infrastructure can bring lasting value.” Nairobi Governor Dr. Evans Kidero, speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for Garden City in 2013

“The hybrid system provided by Solarcentury ensures that we primarily use solar power that’s abundant in the region for electrical needs, ensuring consistent supply thus cost reduction on expensive diesel generators and grid consumption. It’s therefore not only better for the environment, but better for the bank balance of Garden City.” Elizabeth Wangeci Chege, CEO and Co-Founder of Web Limited, sustainable consultants for Garden City .

“Garden City is a highly energy-efficient development that will be a genuine mixed-use community and an enduring landmark that the residents of Nairobi and the region can be proud of.”Koome Gikunda,

Investment Principal, Actis

Power and payback

Size: 858kWp

Annual generation, approximately: 1450MWh

Lifetime CO2 savings: 18,750 tonnes

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