Kenya: Total’s Solar Kits Target Poor Households
Friday, February 24, 2012
Total Kenya is banking on portable solar kits for lighting and charging of mobile phones to break into the Kenyan renewable energy market.
The firm seeks to win at least 10,000 households that use paraffin lamps to start using solar solutions, including for charging mobile phones.
“Solar Energy is abundant, clean and renewable. We are stepping up investment in this field since it is a key component in ensuring that we have sustainable energy,” said Ms Manoelle Lapoutre, Total senior vice-president in charge of sustainable development and environment.
The cheapest Total solar lantern retails at Sh1, 000 and can provide up to eight hours of lighting after a minimum six hour exposure to sunlight. Kenya, Cameroon and Indonesia have been selected as the launching pad for the low-budget kits.
The company hopes the low cost will help the base of the pyramid households reduce dependence on kerosene lamps which are considered costly, provide poor lighting and are not environmental friendly. (READ: Green energy key to lighting up Africa)
High initial installation costs has been one of the key barriers to exploitation of solar energy resources by poor households especially in Africa. For example, a 20 watt solar lighting kit retails for about Sh29,500– locking out low income households.
The focus on providing clean energy solutions like solar to poor households will assist combat the health and environmental challenges associated with biomass and paraffin usage such as respiratory diseases, fire outbreaks and irritation to the eyes caused by smoke.