Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Kenya

Article written by Arne Jacobson

Arne Jacobson with WLED product

Arne Jacobson of SERC helps Daniel Buyu of Yala, Kenya troubleshoot a problem with an LED flashlight. (Photo credit Evan Mills)

Kenya is a world leader, on a per capita basis, in the utilization of solar photovoltaic systems. Solar power provides the main source of electricity for more than 5% of Kenya’s rural population, and sales of solar products in Kenya continue to grow.

Although these high use levels indicate a robust renewable energy sector, quality issues have long been a concern in the Kenya solar market. As is true in many Sub Saharan African countries, market institutions for ensuring quality are weak in Kenya. As a result, while most solar products sold in the country perform adequately, some of the products sold in the market perform well below advertised levels. This persistent presence of low quality goods is a problem not only for rural Kenyans unlucky enough to purchase the “wrong” PV module or battery, but also for the reputation of the solar industry.

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