Daughter: (cough, cough, cough) Mum there is no paraffin left in the lamp and my homework is halfway done
Mother: Light the candle, it is late to go for the paraffin at the shop. I shall buy more tomorrow
Father: My dear wife, are you crying? Your eyes are all red
Wife: No, my husband. Am just straining them since it’s all dim inside here. The torch can illuminate no more, we need to buy more batteries.
(A burned down house stands on its twos. Everything is in ashes and the mighty wind blows the remains away. An owl hoots as villagers return to their homes with empty buckets and saddened faces. A wailing woman is kneeling facing what has become of her future)
Villager1: What has happened?
Villager2: She was boiling water on the kerosene stove and had rushed out to the kiosk
Villager3: The 2 children were in the house and the stove must have exploded
Villager1: Did you manage to save them?
Villager3: No, it was too late. The fire was so enormous we could not control it and the door had been locked from inside.
This is the scenario is most homesteads especially in the rural and urban slums. The cost of electricity is too high or the locations far away from the main supply lines. However, majority cannot afford it as the poverty levels are too high and the sources of income are scarce to pay for the installation fees.
This has prompted homes to use nonrenewable sources of energy like kerosene, candles, disposable batteries that are prone to their health. Poor eyesight, breathing complications and death as a result of accidental mishaps consume this populations.
Renewable energy sources like the sun and wind are not exploited fully leaving hydro-power as the main source of electricity. Rainfall cannot be reliable more so with the drastic changes in the climatic and weather patterns.
Good news is that the global entrepreneurship summit 2015 brought with it investors like the Virgin CEO Richard Branson who initiated a project in the country with the aim of investing in renewable energy. This is aligned to Kenya’s vision 2030 of Lighting up Kenya. This is by increasing solar usage that generates cleaner power and reduces carbon emissions.
The Rural Electrification Authority having agreed to the partnership is to facilitate that solar panels prices are reduced to increase demand, reduce cost associated with electricity, guarantee consumers uninterrupted power supply thus enabling the Jubilee government manifesto of laptop provisions, launch of 50Mw solar plant in Garissa. Investments through local entrepreneurs, financial institutions, county governments and philanthropists will be needed to light up Kenya the solar way.
I love traveling to rural areas and am really proud of the initiatives in place. It is not like the era days when the only lighted home was that of a rich man. The number of electrification has increased with major homes upgrading to either electricity or solar panels. The mode of cooking is also changing from stoves, firewood to meko gas, modern charcoal burners that emit less pollution and uses less firewood.
My back up energy is the solar whenever there is a black out. The solar panel connects other lamps and chargers where you can indeed charge your phone, laptop and other devices as it comes with the relevant cables. The panel can harvest capacity of 100Kj per day while the 2 white round lamps stores 60Kj each per light. The easy, convenient yet cheap method. If you cannot afford the solar panel, there are other solar lamps charged by the sun or electricity depending on the medium best suitable for you. They illuminate too much light and can be controlled by pressing on a button which is inbuilt.
As the campaign for one solar panel per home begins, grab one and support the initiative. Embrace renewable energy and enhance a sustainable environment for development.