The solar revolution might have started a couple of years ago but it is quite evident that momentum has been attained as multitudes of Kenyans embrace green energy to counter the national grid. The high cost of electricity in Kenya coupled with regular power blackouts has necessitated this move. Apparently, the burden of high electricity costs dumped to consumers has been engineered by monopoly in supply and greedy dealers who produce electricity and sell it at a highly inflated cost to the national grid in a cartel operative style. The recent discovery and exploitation of oil in Turkana is deemed as a big disappointment to the citizenry who expected to benefit from reduced electricity tariffs as is the case in other oil-producing countries.
ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN SOLAR CONNECTIVITY
It costs approximately Ksh 35,000 (EUR 318.18) to connect to the national grid and about 0.1145 EUR equivalent per kWh of electricity service. These are relatively high costs that pose a major obstacle to the expansion of electricity connections to low-income households and small businesses, which can therefore benefit from decentralized alternative sources of energy, such as solar. Also according to the Kenya National Electrification Strategy 2018, out of the 10.8 million households to be electrified, 9.7 are within the 15km of the existing grid network while 1.1 million are 15km or further from the main grid and are best served by off-grid energy.
Indeed, lots of business entities in the private sector dealing in solar energy and solar products have come up with suitable solar bundles to suit homes, and almost every consumer can get customization of gadgets according to their needs, gadgets and usage. With proper advice from authorized solar engineers, potential consumers can easily have these gadgets delivered to their doorsteps and installed on their property within a short time as compared to the long, tedious and expensive process of getting connected to the national grid.
SOLAR ENERGY REQUIRES THE ACQUISITION OF SOME COMPATIBLE BASIC GADGETS
The estimation given by solar experts for a two-bedroom house with a television set, refrigerator, computer, and ten bulbs is approximately 300 continuous watts. It is however important to note that each user is unique as everyone has different electric gadgets with some consumers needing more wattage to utilize their gadgets. It is also important to note that while it’s cheaper to generate your own electricity as in the case of solar energy, there will be some gadgets that will need to be substituted by newer gadgets that are compatible with solar and this will include iron boxes and water pumps.
One can not use the traditional electric iron boxes and water pumps with low wattage solar but luckily, some manufacturers have come out with DC cookers, iron boxes and water pumps that are compatible. For one to get connected, the basic gadgets will include Solar panels to harvest the energy, solar inverter and charger to redirect the energy to a storing point in which case, this will be Solar batteries that store the captured energy and relay to the utilities. Water heating usually requires a separate system and is highly recommended so as to cut costs of heating water via the national grid.