Unilever Tea on path to 100% renewables with Solarcentury and CrossBoundary Energy

Kericho Unilever solar

Solarcentury is pleased to announce the commissioning of the first solar project for Unilever in Africa, alongside CrossBoundary Energy


Press release from CrossBoundary Energy:

Unilever Tea Kenya and CrossBoundary Energy are commissioning a 619 kWp solar plant today at the company’s Kericho tea factory. This is the first on-site solar installation for a Unilever facility in Sub-Saharan Africa, and it brings the company closer to its goal of sourcing 100% of total energy from renewables by 2030.

With the addition of solar PV to its existing hydroelectric and biomass resources, over 90% of Unilever Tea Kenya’s energy needs will now be met with clean energy. At the same time, Unilever will save money on its electricity costs.

CrossBoundary Energy sells power from the solar plant to Unilever via an innovative 15-year power purchase agreement. Only now that the system’s installation and testing is complete will Unilever begin paying for solar electricity, and CrossBoundary Energy will continue to manage and finance future project operations, maintenance, monitoring, and insurance. Unilever pays monthly, discounted solar electricity bills while remaining protected from the technical and operational risks of operating a solar project for the long-term.

Sylvia ten Den, Managing Director of Unilever Tea Kenya, says, “Installation of solar power at our Kericho operations delivers on our commitment to reduce our environmental footprint. By reducing the use of energy, raw materials and natural resources, we create efficiencies and cut costs, while becoming less exposed to price volatility. Besides being more cost-efficient this will save 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions over 15 years.”

Femi Fadugba, Head of Business Development for CrossBoundary Energy, says, “Access to reliable, affordable energy is one of the biggest constraints to business growth in Africa. CrossBoundary is supporting the continent’s leading brands like Unilever to adopt solar solutions across their operations in Sub-Saharan Africa. CrossBoundary Energy now operates 1.5MW of solar capacity in Kenya with a larger portfolio of over 30MW across Ghana, Rwanda, and Nigeria.”

In Kericho, the solar PV panels are installed on a rotating mounting structure that tracks the movement of the sun throughout the day, increasing the plant’s power output by 20%. It is the largest commercial single-axis tracking installation in Kenya to date. Solarcentury East Africa managed engineering, procurement, and construction of this unique project, which employed 40 workers, including 6 women.

Roberto Martin, Director of Solarcentury East Africa, says, “We were delighted to work with CrossBoundary Energy to deliver this first solar plant for Unilever in Africa, which also represents a landmark solar tracker installation in Kenya. It’s exciting to see multinationals committed to the RE100 pledge like Unilever, implementing ground-breaking projects such as this tracker PV plant. With each project we build we are not only fighting climate change, but creating jobs for young adults and women.”


Commercial enquiries for CrossBoundary Energy: Femi Fadugba, energy@crossboundary.com

Media enquiries for CrossBoundary Energy: Anne Njoroge, anjoroge@levanterafrica.com ,+254 712 238 589

Media enquiries for Unilever Tea Kenya: Patrick.muchiri@unilever.com , +254 725 064 149

Media enquiries for Solarcentury East Africa: east.africa@solarcentury.com , +254 705 957 684


About CrossBoundary Energy www.crossboundaryenergy.com

Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading supplier of cheaper, cleaner power for business.

CrossBoundary Energy is Sub-Saharan Africa’s first and largest owner and operator of solar for businesses. CBE’s PPA financing allows businesses to adopt solar energy at no upfront cost and themselves on the path to energy savings, business growth, and a lower carbon footprint. CrossBoundary Energy has signed the first commercial solar PPAs in Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, and Nigeria. Our portfolio consists of 30MW of solar projects awarded, in operation, or under construction and is the largest portfolio of African distributed solar outside of South Africa. CrossBoundary Energy is one of The CrossBoundary Group’s direct investment platforms.

About Unilever Tea Kenya

Unilever is one of the leading tea exporting companies in Kenya and has been growing tea since 1924. Its tea estates cover over 8,000 hectares and are Rainforest Alliance certified. With about 16,000 employees, Unilever is one of the largest private employers in the region. It is working towards building a sustainable business that cares for its environment and creates positive social impact by improving the livelihoods of communities. Its tea portfolio includes key world’s renowned brands, like Lipton and PG tips.

Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.

The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s sustainable living brands are growing 50% faster than the rest of the business and delivered more than 60% of the company’s growth in 2016.

Unilever was ranked number one in its sector in the 2017 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5. It led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017 GlobeScan/SustainAbility annual survey for the seventh year running. Unilever has pledged to become carbon positive in its operations by 2030.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com. For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.com/sustainable-living/


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