In east African countries, 80 per cent of the population rely on kerosene lamps and candles for lighting. Around 15-20 per cent of the families income is spent on kerosene. Making the use of kerosene lamps a significant burden. For that reason about 10 million people in Africa have switched from Kerosene to Solar Lanterns.
Kenya’s energy sector is largely dominated by petroleum and electricity.
According to John Kioli, an enviromentalist the population relying on biomass is more than 82 per cent. “They all rely on 85 per cent of trees and biomass sources.” He says.
What are the hits and misses of Kenya’s renewable energy sector?
According to Richard Munag, the Cordinator of Ecosystem Based Adaptation for Food Security Assembly (EBAFOSA), famers are using solar power to power their irrigation.
“And this is not only saving them 10,000$ per year, but as a result of this they are also making 30000$ as a result of utilising clean energy sources. And because they’re using solar power irrigation, they’re saving 1.9 billion liters of water which could have been wasted, and put more pressure on the ecosystem.” He explains.
At the moment, Kenya is yet to fully exploit wind, biogas and geothermal power sources.
Kenya is one of the world leaders in geothermal energy production which is considered as clean or green energy because its carbon footprints on the environment is minimal. With the change of climate in many parts of the country, Kenyans have turned to utilising solar as a form of renewable energy.
According to Prita Shah- Liter of Light /Malaysia, the best part in Kenya is that most people see the solar lamps, on the streets and are willing to learn how to make them.
“So they will end up making more of these lamps by themselves and that way there’ll be light in Kenya.” He said.
“In Kenya for example, electricity access is between 40 – 50 per cent. Meaning that 20 million Kenyans are still relying on Kerosene.” Said Vincent Kitio – Urban Energy UN HABITAT
Fredrick Ochieng, a Consultant at UNHABITAT says that Africans have substantial shortfall in energy. So renewable energy including solar BV is a reliable and easily available opportunity to address this existing gap in energy access.
UN HABITAT has developed a hands on training on energy efficiency and renewable energy for youth empowerment to provide practical knowledge transfer on clean energy. the training targets young people because they are generally up to three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.