Rooftop Solar Power System Installed On United Nations Building

A United Nations building in Nairobi has become the first carbon neutral office building in Africa after the installation of a PV-based rooftop solar power system.

Germany-based Energiebau GmbH has announced the completion of a 515kW solar power system installed for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Currently the largest rooftop solar panel array in Africa and consisting of 4,000 modules, the installation will produce 750,000 kilowatt hours annually – exceeding the electrical requirements of the building that provides work space for 1,200 people.

The system was constructed over a three month period and planned with the assistance of leading solar inverter maker SMA and Schott Solar; a manufacturer of solar panels.

Energiebau CEO Michael Shepherd Energiebau said the flagship project in Africa will help highlight the importance of the developing East African market and the power and potential of solar energy in Africa.

According to data from World Energy Outlook, in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2009, only 31% of the population had access to electricity; with an urban electrification rate of 59.9% and rural electrification rate of just 14.3%

The United Nations Environment Programme seeks to provide leadership and encourage partnership in environmental stewardships by “inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations”. Created in 1972 by the UN General Assembly, the UNEP vision to 2013 is to be the leading global environmental authority promoting sustainable development within the United Nations system and to serve as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.