Solar energy in this country has grossly been underutilized!

Equatorial Kenya has been blessed with an uninterrupted solar supply 365 days in an year and the government has seemed oblivious to this fact. Rural Kenya has been a beneficiary of the rural electrification project that has tried to connect more people to the national power grid that is already grappling with power shortages and inadequate supply to the fast growing economy. Understandably rural Kenya demand for power is not that high but penetration has also been an issue for the project. Rural homes grapple with high prices of fuel used primarily for lighting as firewood remains the most preferred cooking fuel. Most of the projects undertaken many companies and individuals have been small scale and has involved supply of solar lanterns. This, however small can have a great impact of these families lives. On average it is estimated that these families use about 75/= a day on kerosene and in an economy where most people live on a dollar a day that amount is ridiculously high! If we get enough lanterns into these homes we could solve a problem that could seem hard in a very simple way.

Urban Kenya can also benefit greatly from solar power. The government recently passed a law that required installation of solar panels in certain households and businesses. Establishments coming up have been trying to comply to this law and this could significantly reduce the power costs for these businesses and households although more should be done to push for proper implementation of the law. The Nairobi City Council comes under a lot of criticism with its archaic laws, askaris, and councilors alike! But I must commend them on one fact, their use of solar panels for street lights. Along Parliament Road all these street lights have solar panels and this should be used in almost if not all of the light in the city.

This model would have worked very well on the lighting along the Thika Super highway.

All in all the government MUST reduce taxes on solar equipment being imported! This is the only way that we can encourage use of solar energy in the country and county governments will be wise to encourage use of solar in their counties since it will solve some of the problems that people grapple with. That said……