Climate Energy

Over two million Kenyans will be able to access clean energy

Via the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP), upwards of two million Kenyans are going to have access to renewable energy alternatives as part of a major government drive to bring modern electricity to previously underserved areas.

They will be chosen from 500,000 families throughout 14 counties: Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, West Pokot, Turkana, Marsabit, Narok, Mandera, Wajir, Garrisa, Isiolo, Kwale, Taita Taveta, and Samburu.

Mr. Zachary O. Ayieko, Chief Administrative Secretary in charge of Ministry of Energy, said during a product exhibition of clean cookstoves and stand-alone solar systems offered under the KOSAP initiative in Kwale County that “KOSAP is a demonstration of the government’s dedication to not only guarantee they access to power but also embrace clean energy solutions.  It is a significant step toward realizing the Constitutional guarantee that all Kenyans, regardless of where they live, have access to government services,” he added.

The targeted counties were chosen based on the Commission of Revenue Allocation’s classification of them as marginalized, with a current rate of electrical connectivity of 23%, compared to a national average of 70%. Indeed, these counties cover nearly 70% of the country’s land mass, with populations dispersed across vast swaths, making the building of mini-grids and standalone solar systems the most cost-effective strategy for achieving universal access to the modern energy.

Stand-alone Solar Systems (SSS) will be installed in 400,000 homes, while Clean Cooking Solutions (CCS) will be installed in 111,277 homes as part of the projects. The flagship initiative of the Energy Ministry, funded by the World Bank, will benefit 450 community facilities, including schools, health facilities, and administrative offices, as well as 380 community boreholes.

A total of 146 solar-powered mini-grids will be built in the targeted counties, supplying solar power to about 55,000 households. “KOSAP is a driving force behind our efforts to guarantee that Kenyans have access to clean, sustainable, and environmentally friendly electricity.” Mr. Ayieko continued, “We are assisting in the reduction of over-dependence on the fossil as well as non-sustainable biomass fuels.”

The government has increased investments in the energy industry, ensuring that individuals who are not served by the main grid have access to clean, healthy, and ecologically friendly alternatives. The KOSAP approach seeks to incentivize solar service suppliers and sellers of contemporary cookstoves to put up sales and after-sales infrastructure in the counties that are being targeted. This is in response to market trends, which show that while the country’s standalone solar market is thriving, most companies are hesitant to invest in the country’s vast underserved regions, citing logistical as well as other operational challenges.

Twenty private enterprises providing solar and clean cooking goods have received KES 500 million (about $4.4 million) from the program. Ten SSPs (Solar Service Providers) have already been awarded a total of Sh300 million to help them establish sales infrastructure in 14 counties.

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