Solar street lamps plan unveiled for counties to reduce crime

Solar powered street lights will be installed countrywide to reduce crime rates.

Lap Trust chief executive Hosea Kili said in Naivasha that the lights would help national and county governments to cut costs in power production and supply.

The solar powered street light cost Sh120,000 each with a 20-metre high post and includes a solar panel, battery and the street lamp, according to Mr Kili.

He presented solar lamps at a governors’ meeting at Simba lodge in Naivasha. Lap Trust provides retirement benefits and financial services.

Mr Kili said 20 solar lights have been set up to light up a 4.5 kilometre stretch in Narok. The lamp has a battery life of 12 hours when it is fully charged and uses a 90 megawatt bulb.

The next town will be Kisumu.

The solar street light consists of an advertising panel, which would be used as a source of revenue.

Mr Kili hoped the cost of the solar powered lights would reduce as time goes by.

“We intend to explore more options of creating the lights. This will be by seeking cheaper materials of creating the lamps. However we will still maintain the quality of the lamps,” he told the meeting.

The Lap Trust CEO said the project was a cost sharing public-private initiative.

Solar technology delivers refrigeration to off-grid areas

Solar power is increasingly becoming fashionable, meaning that people living off the electricity grid can still share the joys of previously unfathomable technology.
Among the recent technologies gaining currency in the Kenyan market are solar fridges and freezers.

A solar-powered refrigerator runs on electricity generated from the sun. The cooler operates with a compressor powered directly from sunlight.

The refrigerator stores thermal energy in ice and a thermostat maintains the temperature between the required limits.

Off-grid refrigerators have long been used in remote areas of Kenya and other countries. But previous refrigerators either used kerosene or gas, which were both harmful to the environment and posed a health hazard to the users.

And even then, the initial solar-powered fridges have been the preserve of social welfare institutions like rural hospitals with no access to electricity. Most were gifts from international donors.

Rural hospitals may have been the initial adopters, setting the pace for the technology. Now even hotels are following suit.

One of the marketers of this range of fridges, Chloride Exide Kenya Ltd, says they have lately been in unprecedented demand.

Other than rural clinics and schools, Mr Tim Jessop, the Chloride Exide general manager says, “We are seeing growing demand for solar fridges and freezers for Safari camps, hotels and lodges, and small businesses in remote areas of the country.”

Solar kits to boost war on malaria

A group of local and foreign researchers have developed a plan to eradicate malaria from a Kenyan island without using insecticides.

The solar powered mosquito trap is part of a three-in-one idea that will also provide residents of Rusinga Island with sustainable electricity.

Each house is fitted with a rooftop solar panel, two light fixtures and a charging point for mobile phones.

Dubbed SolarMal, the trial project which begun in February 2012, is led by Prof Willem Takken of Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Dr Richard Mukabana of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology.

The project targets more than 4,200 homesteads in the next four years.


The concept is to lure mosquitoes into traps using nylon strips thereby reducing dependency on insecticides.

Dr Mukabana says: “Malaria is a problem, especially for the 30,000 people in Rusinga Island. The daily trapping of mosquitoes leads to a gradual decline in their population, so people will receive fewer mosquito bites and leading to fewer malaria cases.”

SolarMal was started to combat malaria after the failure of another project that aimed at distributing more than 10 million mosquito nets.

Study on green energy in counties set to start

The Energy Ministry is carrying out a study to determine how much renewable power is used among the 47 counties.

Using this data, the ministry intends to develop a plan in the devolution of energy services to county governments, in a bid to promote renewable power.

On Wednesday, the ministry published a notice inviting tenders from consultancy firms to carry out the study.

“There is a need to develop a database of renewable energy technologies in the country. This will be useful in identifying priority areas in line with devolution of services to the counties.
“Such a database will be updatable for the purpose of monitoring the impact of projects implemented by the ministry,” the tender notice indicate.

The project is in line with the government’s plan to reduce the cost energy by accelerating the production of renewable power from wind, solar and hydro sources.

The study, which will also cover the use of firewood, kerosene and cooking gas, will be carried out in three counties: Meru, Nakuru and Kakamega.

The same will be replicated in the remaining 44 counties.

While releasing the new electricity tariffs applicable in the next three years from December, the Energy Regulatory Commission said electricity was expensive because it comes from generators driven by diesel.

The government plans to add 5,000 megawatts of electricity to the grid in the next 40 months, hoping to increase consumption of cheap electricity generated by natural resources such as wind and geothermal.

Light up your outdoors using solar power

Alternative energy is quickly becoming the better option for many home owners despite the initial cost of setting up the system.

Research has shown that although the cost of switching to these unconventional power sources may be high initially, in the long run, you end up saving quite a substantial amount of money.

Alternative energy reduces a homeowner’s reliance on power from the national grid which can be erratic when you need it most. It also saves them money and provides a better back up power solution in case of outages.

To back its importance, the government in 2012 published the Energy (Solar Water Heating) Regulations in a gazette notice which makes it mandatory for developers and home owners to install solar water heating systems in their properties.

Late last year, the energy regulator followed up with a notice to the Kenya Power warning the distributor on connecting new buildings and homes to the power grid, unless they comply with the renewable energy guidelines.

The rules require commercial and residential buildings tapping power from the national grid to install solar water heaters. The provision allows only compliant properties to be connected to the national electricity grid.