The new year, 2017, has begun in earnest for the cleantech scene in Kenya, as M-KOPA, a local Kenyan clean energy company has been named among other contenders as an innovative outfit in the Global Cleantech 100. The company leverages mobile money penetration in providing solar energy to bottom-of-the-pyramid off-grid rural populations in Kenya and the region.
Availability of reliable, low-cost energy is the cornerstone of economic development and is a primary limiting factor for many developing countries. We share knowledge on an energy sector which is undergoing massive change with new technologies that will provide cheaper, more accessible and cleaner energy.
Kenya Arid and Semi Arid lands comprise of 70 percent of total country land although they host only about 20 percent of population. These arid and semi arid areas are affected with massive food shortage, water shortage and drought, with up to 5 million people affected every year. Only 5 percent have access to electricity through the national grid. While irrigation could help, diesel and petrol powered pumps are not economically feasible. Solar power pumps, which have been proved to be cost effective in such areas due to low maintenance and operation cost can help.
Globally, there are currently 1.5 billion people who have no access to the main grid. Currently, Kenya stands at 83% on mobile penetration, but only 20% of these statistics have their households connected to the main grid. The question then becomes how possible to power these mobile gadgets? Jiko Power is trying to address this problem. ‘Jiko’ in Swahili means a cookstove, while ‘Power’ essentially connotes the electrical power derived from the heat generated from the firewood that is used in the stove.
A farmer in Kenya is reaping massive benefits from solar-enhanced dairy-farming. In order to boost production, Willy Kirwa, a dairy farmer located in Eldoret (Western region of Kenya in the Rift Valley) invested $40,000 USD in a modern state-of-the art solar power system on his 50-acre farm to help in lighting and processing of milk.
COP22 ended last week in high optimism that leaders will continue to invest in initiatives and actions that help avert the global warming crisis. This includes starting to review 'nationally determined contributions' this time by 2020 and investing in more renewable projects. Developing countries pledged to switch to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 while developed countries reiterated their commitment to funding these initiatives.
John A. Conklin is the president and CEO of SolarWindow Technologies, Inc., located in Maryland, USA. Conklin is overseeing the development of one of the world’s leading electricity-generating technologies for glass and flexible plastic that has the promise to turn tall towers and skyscrapers into power generators. Angela McClowry from Cleanleap, recently interviewed John to discuss clean solar PV panels and their role in a cleanleap.
The 2016-2017 edition of the Global LEAP Competition kicked off September 2016, and nominations for this wave’s world’s most innovative off-grid cooling technologies are open till January 2017. The competition which attracts entries from all over the world, and which seeks to award three most-innovative off-grid refrigerator concepts, with a total prize pool of $600,000.
Moving to a cleaner, more sustainable world brings with it enormous potential for the creation of new jobs and economies. This situation is made abundantly clear in research indicating that the transition to sustainable lighting systems in the form of off-grid solar LEDs in developing regions may create some two million new jobs.
With solar power becoming a bankable alternative to fossil fuels, focus turns on how it can be made more cheaper, especially with large-scale power projects that hook to national grids. Scaling Solar wants to do that and is starting with two solar power plants in Zambia -- by helping companies, governments and financiers through the power agreement processes, financing, bidding, project management and contract-related issues.
Wind power in Kenya contributes only a small amount of the country's electrical power. However, its share in energy production is increasing. Kenya aims to generate 2,036 MW of wind power, or 9% of the country's total capacity, by 2030. With the project expected to match approximately 18% of the current national grid electricity-generation capacity, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project shall become a renewable energy gem in the East African continuum.