Kenya Taps Solar to Power Digital Learning
I n one of the most ambitious rural electrification projects in Africa that has tapped the use of solar energy, the Kenyan government has completed connecting some 4,100 primary schools to power using solar PV systems. The schools have been electrified as part of a determined digital learning programme that will see electricity from the panels being used to power learning tablets currently being rolled out in public primary schools countrywide.
Under the project a total of 22,249 schools have been connected to power, with 18,074 of those being connected using grid extension, while another 4,175 have been powered by solar PV systems in areas far away from grid power lines.
Another equally ambitious rural power project to extend electricity supply to 591 public facilities— including shopping centres, health facilities, and water supply projects— and 35,460 households in 16 counties is being funded by $63.5 million from the Arab Development Bank, Saudi Fund for Development, OPEC fund for Development and the Government of Kenya.
While Kenya, like most African countries, has an endless potential for solar energy, most of the rural areas of the country remain without power, mainly due to the high cost of infrastructure and low power generation. The country has in recent years increased its installed capacity from 1,400 MW to about 2,400 MW, according to Energy Regulatory Commission figures, linking nearly 40 per cent of households to power in the last six years.