NewsEast & Horn AfricaKenya developers fit homes and buildings with solar technology

Mon,11Dec2017

Posted on Monday, 15 May 2017 15:30

Kenya developers fit homes and buildings with solar technology

By Reuters

In this photo taken June 30, 2016, a Ugandan casual worker levels the ground at a solar plant in Soroti, Uganda. Photo: Stephen Wandera/AP/SIPAWith an aim to promote clean energy and reduce electricity costs, Kenya is one of the countries leading Africa's push toward solar energy.

 

Greenpark was founded in 2006 and the 150-acre housing estate has 400 units all fitted with solar panels for water heating.

Each solar unit costs about 800 U.S. dollars to install.

Residents say the panels have helped cut electricity costs by nearly half.

"Basically it is a very energy saving product that we have because we are able to have hot water throughout the day depending on the usage and also in the night, yeah so we don't have to put power on, we always have hot water whichever time you need during the day and normally we are able to use the water for washing for cleaning and also for the bathrooms", says Ruth Ng'ang'a, a Greenpark estate resident. 

Kenya is one of the countries leading Africa's push toward solar energy use.

Regulation for property developers

Experts say fast-dropping costs for solar power, combined with plenty of sun and a huge need for cheaper electricity holds huge economic potential.

"Solar energy is viable in Kenya, Kenya lying on the equator has some of the best solar installations in the globe, I think it is about 4.5 kilowatts per hour which is actually very good and if the solar energy is well harnessed it will actually help in stability of our grid, particularly when we have solar during the day", says Ernest Chitechi, Corporate Services Manager, Kenya Climate Innovation Centre. 

The country's Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has said property developers must now install solar water heaters in buildings where occupants use over 100 liters of hot water a day by May this year, following a regulation that came into force in 2012.

Kenya also plans to launch a $150m project this year to bring solar electricity to markets, schools, shops and homes in poor, off-grid areas without existing power access.



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