Solar power makes it to Kenya

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2222448961_fed0cd6ca9In a report last year called Selling Solar, the IFC admitted that its decade-plus engagement with solar power had not been as successful as hoped:

While IFC programs have been responsible for the installation of over 84,000 solar home systems (SHS), these programs have been less successful from a financial standpoint, IFC having been unable to significantly transform markets and create sustainable businesses as originally anticipated.

Just a few weeks ago, however, an article in the East African Standard suggested that demand for solar power is taking off in Kenya (Hat tip: SciDev).

One of the companies in the article, Solar World East Africa, says it plans on introducing "solar kits or "power packs" which provide power for lighting, charging a mobile phone and to an FM radio at Sh3,000 per pack." (It looks like the owner of the company managed to get some support from the Bank to develop his product.) Perhaps this will prove to be a positive footnote to Selling Solar's more somber conclusion about IFC's endeavors to transform the market in Kenya:

[T]he Kenyan market was not prepared for the financial product and services that [the IFC initiative] offered. The minimum deal sizes were too large for existing solar pv firms, and larger entities...were not interested in pursing the rural
solar pv market.


Ryan Hahn

Operations Officer

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