Solar Question #1

Mshairi asked:
While in Kenya, I met one family that had built their own home and fitted it with solar panels. They had virtually no heating and lighting costs but their intial outlay that involved buying fitting in the solar panels was quite expensive. My question is whether a time will come when these costs are not so prohibitive.

Yes, the time is drawing near i think. January this year, i visited a farm in Eldoret where they used solar for heating water, using an installation of ‘suntanks’ which is a south African company. I asked the approximate cost of the installation, and he indicated that it cost him Ksh 120,000. He did indicate that there is a german company that can set up a similar installation for 1/2 the cost. (sorry i dont have the company name right now, but will update you once i get the info)
A better gauge of the cost of solar energy is by calculating the kw/hr or cost per Watt; and see how it has changed over the past couple of years. I am still looking for this info…

makau wa mulei said,

The cost hasnâ??t changed much, a 200ltr water heating system goes for Ksh. 120,000 wheras a 300ltr system goes for Ksh. 150,000 and are not tax exempt.
A 80 watts monocrystaline solar panel for electric generation goes for Ksh. 39,000, 600 watts MOSFET inverter Ksh. 15,000, 100Ah lead acid battery for Ksh. 16,000 and a 10Amp charge controller for Ksh. 4,000 giving a total of Ksh. 74,000 + 16% VAT. This is way beyond reach for most Kenyans. In my rural town, most teachers who have access to Sacco loans have invested in solar panels. for majority of the population that cannot afford this amount, they have to do whithout electric power.
I think the first step the Govt needs to do is zero rate solar equipment and waive import duty, this can substancially lower the cost.

16 thoughts on “Solar Question #1

  1. The cost hasn’t changed much, a 200ltr water heating system goes for Ksh. 120,000 wheras a 300ltr system goes for Ksh. 150,000 and are not tax exempt.
    A 80 watts monocrystaline solar panel for electric generation goes for Ksh. 39,000, 600 watts MOSFET inverter Ksh. 15,000, 100Ah lead acid battery for Ksh. 16,000 and a 10Amp charge controller for Ksh. 4,000 giving a total of Ksh. 74,000 + 16% VAT. This is way beyond reach for most Kenyans. In my rural town, most teachers who have access to Sacco loans have invested in solar panels. for majority of the population that cannot afford this amount, they have to do whithout electric power.
    I think the first step the Govt needs to do is zero rate solar equipment and waive import duty, this can substancially lower the cost.

  2. Thank you very much! – There is an org called KEREA (Kenya Renewable energy Association) Is it still active? (my kikuyu pals will completely laugh at that acronym)

  3. I am with u gals & guys on this import duty examption issue. Btw, are there any solar kits for recharging mobile phones for sale in Nairobi?
    I wonder that so many companies build mobile devices these days without providing their own intelligent energy solutions.

    I am currently persuading a friend of mine to upload her recent Eldoret pictures on rain water harvesting & co on flickr. That’s interesting blog material! :-)

  4. Hopefully by the time we are ready to retire at home, solar technology will be easily available. Can’t understand why it is not govt. policy for all new homes to be solar power enabled. Just think how much money will be saved on electricity costs.

    Say cool

  5. Can’t understand why solar technology is not govt. policy for all new homes . Just think how much money will be saved on electricity costs.

    Say cool

  6. Kenyans have taken to solar energy more than it is apparent, I came across this article but not sure of its authenticity, but it still points to the direction that Kenyans are taking http://www.exploratorium.edu/theworld/energy/solar.html Solar energy is expensive the initial cost being outside the common mwanainchi’s budget, see what Dr. Leakey spent to make his house off the grid http://www.kenital.com/leakey.asp, I do also agree with the idea of solar power becoming a government priority and assist innovative Kenyans http://www.changemakers.net/journal/04november/case1-13-1-24.cfm with some funds in developing the industry guess that answers your question JKE. Bottom line is solar power does not provide the profitability that would make it as economically feasible for a company to invest in it in Kenya, but if someone could come up with a bright idea on how to make it profitable, I guess we will be seeing more of it.

  7. Very interesting entries on Solar energy. just showed this to a colleague who is thinking of setting up a company back in Nigeria. the future is now, the electric grid has had it’s day for the rural areas. Solar power for hospitals to store pharmaceuticals, blood etc? definitely catch the government’s interest. pondering.

  8. I came accross your website and felt the need to present my company.

    Compact Energy Nig Ltd, was established due to the daily blackout in Nigeria as a result of poor power supply from the national Grip.

    We are into sales and installations of solar panels, inverters, battery cells, solar street lights, portable solar system, solar phone chargers and solar traffic signs.

    We can be reached at:martinsandrewoshen@yahoo.com

  9. Has any investors ever consider setting up a solar farm in places like kisumu,mombasa or the northern part of kenya that has sunlight almost throughout the whole year?this will not only improve the living standards of the people around the installation but if in excess can be sold to Kengen or any other power company that wishes to increase it power uotput…this will be a winning situation for all..anyone with this idea please get in touch coz am really thinking of doing this.

    The opportunities are endless with even expansion into wind power production

  10. Am greatful that many peole are challenged to start solar tapping in Africa.
    Am a Kenyan working in Germany with a solar company.
    We build and sell Solar panels to heat swimming pools,recidential houses and hotels. We also sell solar modules for lighting.
    The Fact is here in Germany we dont build the lighting modules but we import them from Spain. The reason is that the modern solar electric panel is made of Silicium which is a product of the sand which is rare in Germany but plenty in Spain.
    In Kenya we have alot of people who have studied and can find simple ways to extract silicium from the sand which we have in plenty. We must find ways on how we can start building our own panels and not always rely on Imports.
    As for water heating I would like to request for help before I decide to set up my first ever water heating Solar Panel building firm in Kenya. Do we have any company that produces copper sheets and pipes? If there is, just let me know. For those who are interested in the pilot project in water heatin panels in Kenya they can reach me through wamaitu70@yahoo.de.
    Only serious minds

  11. So glad to have found this site! I am going to Nairobi in August 07 to teach in an orphanage for 2 months. I am trying to raise money to completely rebuild the orphanage for all the children who’s parents have died of aids. They have no electricity or running water and so I want to get the school to be energy independent. If anyone can point me in teh right direction I would really love to hear from you.

    dane@danebailey.com

  12. DUNCAN ELVIS SOLAR GARAGE

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    PLOT 2-4 INDUSTRIAL AREA

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    ATTN GODFREY LAMBART

    ATTN TO THE SALES DEPARTMENT

    RE: PURCHASE OF SOLAR PANELS GEN SETS ETC

    We are a Company in uganda dealing in the above mentioned items .
    For that matter we would like to get a price quotation C&F Entebbe International Airport Uganda.
    Avail us with the price in US$ to enable us give you our order. we are required to supply them to an organisation here in Uganda (we won a tender to supply these items for a period of 3 years.
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    Hope to get the reply ASAP.
    Rgds
    lambart Godfrey

  13. Solar Electric panels might be the same high price throughout the world, but expensive solar water heating in Africa!

    In europe we have to engineer to get the very last bit of energy collected, hence the technology and high cost. In many parts of Africa the sun is often directly overhead, no need for glass panels or vacuum tubes, a long black water pipe laid in a spiral and that’s all that is needed. Its the cost of the pipe and fittings! See my comments here and the links to the youtube how to do it video.

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