UK’s Foreign Secretary visits solar power project built by Gridworks investee company


On a visit to Kenya today, the UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, the Rt. Hon Dominic Raab MP, visited a 1.1MW solar plant constructed, owned and operated by Gridworks’ investee company, Mettle Solar. The power plant provides clean, low-cost and reliable energy to Liquid Telecom’s East Africa Data Centre (EADC) in Nairobi. The Secretary of State visit allowed him to see how UK investment, channelled through Gridworks, was being used to support distributed renewable energy in Africa and, in turn, the development of infrastructure vital for improving internet access across the region.

Mettle Solar (“Mettle”) designs, installs, finances and maintains rooftop solar-powered systems for businesses across Africa, ranging in size from 80kW to 5MW. Gridworks invested in Mettle in late 2019 to become its largest shareholder and has been supporting the company as it expands its operations into a number of Africa countries beyond its core origins in South Africa.

Mettle’s Chairman, and former CEO of Kenya Airways, Mbuvi Ngunze met the Secretary of State during his visit and highlighted the important economic and climate impact that the commercial and industrial solar power sector can have in Africa.

He said:

“It was a pleasure to meet the Secretary of State and to tell him about the work Mettle does with businesses to provide consistent, affordable clean energy through the use of solar power technology and battery storage. Last autumn we invested in and established the 1MW solar power plant powering the largest data centre in East Africa that the Secretary of State visited today. When Mettle builds new solar systems we provide high quality power to companies who depend on it in order to support job creation and economic opportunity.  Gridworks’ investment in Mettle is allowing us to expand across the continent and means we’ve been able to make investments like this one in Kenya which is vital for improving internet access across East Africa.”

Gridworks CEO, Simon Hodson added:

“I’m glad that our investee company is getting recognition for the important work it does. Africa’s businesses require reliable and affordable electricity and the chronic underinvestment in networks across the continent needs to be addressed. This is being done through the transition towards distributed renewable energy solutions like those undertaken by Mettle. Our investment is helping Mettle reach new markets across Africa to bring affordable and cleaner renewable energy solutions to commercial and industrial users. We want our investment to cut carbon emissions and demonstrate the viability of solar systems for businesses in a continent where 70 per cent of total energy demand comes from commercial and industrial users.”


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Rhyddid Carter ([email protected])