REA solar project
In East Africa, disadvantaged Kenyans can afford to buy their own solar kits instead of receiving donations, a report stated.

The report, compiled by the Overseas Development Institute has suggested that the deal between the Kenyan government and a Canadian-based company, Sky Power, of providing free solar kits to poor Kenyan people should be reconsidered as it would undermine the off-grid business.

According to the Daily Nation, the report called, Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa-Kenya Briefing, endorsed by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) said that Kenyans who are still not connected to the national electricity grid should instead be financially assisted to buy solar kits in the market.

“Proposed giveaway of two million solar home kits by Canadian developer, SkyPower as part of a larger solar infrastructure with the government could disrupt the off-grid business, especially solar subsector across Africa leading to disinterest among locals and eventual withdrawal of funding by impact investors,” the report said.

Kenyans can’t access credit

The Accelerating Access to Electricity in Africa-Kenya Briefing was prepared as part of a background study for the Energy Africa campaign.

[quote]In 2015, SkyPower signed a landmark Sh220 billion ($215,144 million) agreement with Kenya during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to develop 1,000MW of solar projects. Furthermore, the utility-scale solar developer announced it would donate two million solar kits to selected Kenyan households.

However, the report recommended that the decision makers in the off-grid sector should engage more with policy makers, both at the national and county level, as means to fast-track off grid projects in Kenya.

The report further revealed that credit facilities are costly in Kenya, making it impossible for about 20 million Kenyans living in side-line areas to access credit.

Reduce solar kits prices

On the other hand, the report suggested that the Kenyan government should consider other options directed at attracting more participants into the solar sub-sector. This option has the potential to grow the market and likely reduce solar kits prices.

“Helping individual enterprises makes accident ‘winners’ and what Kenya needs is assistance to local enterprises especially those involving women and the youth who could be funded by the government to start solar kit production ventures,” it concluded.