Kenya’s renewable energy sector is set for a boost with PowerHive East Africa, a technology venture that was recently licensed by the Government to sell power to rural homes via solar microgrids becoming the country’s first private utility licensed to sell power to the public.
For two years PowerHive has been running Pilot schemes in four villages in Kisii supplying Power to 1,500 people. Under the deal, the company will produce solar power and distribute it to rural off-grid communities, providing a clean, stable power supply on a ‘viable commercial basis’.
PowerHive will from September begin generating and distributing power under its new license to homes in Kisii and Nyamira counties, areas chosen due to their high population density ideal for microgrid models that rely on short distances between power source and target premises.
Leveraging the falling prices of solar voltaic panels and power storage equipment enabled PowerHive bring the cost of microgrid power closer to mains electricity. It also eliminates the high cost of grid extension that’s been prohibitive in the past.
Kenya is trying to speed up expansion of electricity penetration across the country under the last mile connectivity project. The scheme aims to connect to the grid some 310,000 people living close to Kenya Power transformers within the next 2 years, at $200 a connection. The PowerHive Model will bring power to over 50,000 primary schools set to benefit from the Laptop project.
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