Linde solar power plant. S.Africa. Scatec Solar, Pic credits. APO
Rooftop solar
Kenyan learners living in off-grid communities are now able to learn from laptops, which require an electrical connection.

In East Africa, the Kenyan Rural Electrification Authority has installed solar power systems in 33 public primary schools in the Tana River and Lamu counties, delivering clean power to an estimated 6,000 learners.

The solar power initiative falls in line with the National Primary School Electrification Project, which was established in 2013.

Nigerian online news portal Pulse, reported that according to CapitalFM, the solar power project that cost an estimated $573,527 was brought to fruition through a partnership with local water equipment supplier, Davis and Shirtliff.

Powering off-grid communities

The Rural Electrification Authority Project Supervisor for the Tana River and Lamu solar power installations, Semeka Ong’ong’a, said that the solar units were used because the primary schools in the area were more than five kilometers from the national electricity grid, Pulse reported.

Ong’ong’a said: “As not all schools are close enough to the power grid to pull electricity, there was a need for an alternative and lasting solution. Our partnership with Davis and Shirtliff resulted from the need to power the schools that are off-grid in Tana River and Lamu counties.”

The Solar Division Manager at Davis and Shirtliff, Norman Chege, said: “We have installed the best-in-class solar equipment that will serve the schools for many years to come.

“The equipment comes with a warranty of 25 years and we will be maintaining it for a year to ensure that it is working at its optimum capacity.”

Students living in the two Kenyan counties now have access to clean and reliable power, efforts that are in line with the government’s plan to equip all learners in public primary schools with laptops, for which electricity is an essential need.

Solar power kits

M-KOPA solar III
M-KOPA solar III: powering over 20,000 Ugandan homes with solar power. Pic Credit: m-kopa

In other solar power news, ESI reported earlier this year that Kenya-based M-KOPA Solar had successfully connected an estimated 20,000 Ugandan homes to affordable solar power in the past 15 months.

The ‘pay-as-you-go’ energy service provider for off-grid homes, is extending its product offering across the country with a target of connecting 50,000 additional off-grid households by the end of 2015.

M-KOPA customers can buy the M-KOPA III kit for a deposit of UGX 90,000 (ZAR390) plus 365 daily payments of UGX 1400 (ZAR5). The company claims the price is cheaper than the daily kerosene needed to power lights and to charge phones.