Solar power company in Sh2 billion expansion plan


A 20 KVA solar power system supplied and installed by Chloride Exide that replaced a diesel generator at the Lokichoggio Airport. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The UK-headquartered off-grid power provider Bboxx has announced a Sh2 billion investment to connect additional 150, 000 residents of five counties with home solar systems in part of efforts to boost uptake of the clean energy.

The venture capital-backed company has already lit 9,000 households in Kenya. Residents of Siaya, Kakamega, Kisumu, Vihiga and Bungoma counties will now enjoy up to 50 kilowatt hours (KWH) of electricity in the project to be rolled out by end of December 2016.

Despite the government’s ambitious target to increase connectivity to the national grid to at least 65 per cent by 2022, access to electricity in rural areas, particularly in the lake region is still low.

Bboxx’s managing director Moses Ogola said the initial cost of grid access is still comparatively high especially among low income earners in rural areas.

No additional costs

Bboxx designs, manufactures, distributes and finances solar systems off grid electricity to homesteads across Africa. It installs, repairs and replaces the components at no additional costs to the customer but charges a monthly instalment.

“The Sh590 a month for our basic welcome starter package, is way less compared to the cost of kerosene and phone charging costs incurred by those not connected to the grid,” said Mr Ogolla.

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Most market players in Kenya have only focused on the solar equipment acquirement and not on the after sales services.

Mr Ogolla said their main focus was to provide affordable access to solar energy coupled with a robust after sales service.

“With the majority relying on biomass, there has been a massive need for sustainable energy access with emphasis on environmentally friendly energy sources to supplement the national grid. Solar energy is one such option and that is why we are making it a priority,” said Mr Ogolla.

“The investment will also accelerate the provision of our licensed products and services in other markets, including the creation of three franchises in the West African countries of Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria,” said Mr Ogolla.