Solar nano-grids light up homes and businesses in Kenya

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First installations go live as INTASAVE Energy pursues $30M impact investment.

Villagers in Lemolo B and Echareria in Nakuru County, Kenya, are waking up today to a new future as new solar nano-grids installed over the last two weeks allows them to switch on lights and operate new agri-processing machinery. The two communities are the first to receive a revolutionary new model for clean, affordable and reliable energy where a central solar hub provides both commercial energy for new village enterprises and household energy using cutting-edge up-cycled laptop batteries. The hub allows energy to be shared between households, businesses and the community bringing economic, social and environmental benefits.

The installation is the start of a major INTASAVE Energy solar nano-grid initiative (SONG) that ultimately aims to bring the benefits now beginning for villagers in Lemolo B and Echareria to over 450,000 people across the globe. INTASAVE Energy has launched a $30M impact investment programme to make this goal a reality.

The Solar Nano-Grid (SONG) is a small network and solar-hub with a direct current (DC) inverter-less power output of 3-5kWP not connected with a utility grid. Each grid supports a small independent community of around 60 households, giving energy to around 300 people through household services and reaching many more by operating the centralized solar energy hub to provide power for micro-enterprises and community services with social, health and education impacts. With the development of micro-enterprises, the community can realise collective benefits, save money to extend their solar nano-grid systems and increase their energy consumption cleanly and sustainably. Not only is this model genuinely sustainable in terms of the technology used, it is also scalable in the long term with growing social benefits.

INTASAVE’s SONG model has been initially supported by $600,000 of research and development funds provided by the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) and the Department for International Development (DFID). First installations, including those being installed in Lemolo B and Echareria in Kenya, were funded from $100,000 raised through Crowdfunding.

In order to take the programme to a global level, INTASAVE Energy is now undertaking a global impact investment initiative and Green/Climate Bond programme to raise $30 million in order to roll out the technology to around 1,500 communities in Kenya, South Africa and Mozambique in the next two years. This full impact investment will enable the provision of off-grid residential and community power (including agri-processing and community refrigeration) to around 450,000 people.

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Marc Mcilhone
Marc Mcilhone is AfricanBrains' Editor - sourcing news and features content and overseeing the work of the site’s contributors. Marc’s work is informed by his technical background in architecture having worked for some of the UK’s leading practices on projects within the education, healthcare and housing sectors. Marc has a particular interest in how African innovators are creating sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. Please email press releases and news to: editor@africanbrains.org