A UK based firm plans to set up an assembly plant in Kenya following the launch of its new solar generators in the country.
AceOn Group said it would assemble SolarSDS generators locally to cut shipment cost and make the kits affordable to households with no access to electricity.
“We shall import the kits for some time before we start assembling them locally soon,” Mark Thompson, the managing director and inventor of the solar kits said at the launch Thursday in Nairobi.
A complete SolarSDS kit comes along with a solar panel, LED lights and back-up generator with power storage capacity of between 300 watts and 1000 watts.
Additionally, the generator could be used interchangeably for storage of power from wind and solar sources and has an audio iPod docking station for entertainment.
The launch of the premium solar kits in the country is aimed at meeting power needs of growing middle-class with a penchant for outdoor social events.
These groups include those in camps, expeditions, exhibition stands, garden parties and even army troops during operations out in the jungle.
A complete SolarSDS kit will cost between Sh100,000(US$1,170) and Sh65,000(US$765) for the high and low power capacity generators respectively.
The new kits, Mr Thompson said, are waterproof and portable making them suited for outdoor functions.
In addition to a local assembly line, the firm said it was looking to partner with a microfinance institution in a deal that would see households in rural areas access cheap loans for the financing of the solar kits to boost uptake.
“It is something we are working on to capture the broad bottom market,” Mr Thompson said without disclosing the likely financial institution for a tie-up.
Recently, use of alternative renewable energy sources, especially solar energy has gained currency in the country on the back of increasing cost of hydro-based electricity after the State’s imposition of 16 per cent tax up from previous 12 per cent.
Growing advocacy campaigns in adoption of green energy has also seen players tap into the sector with a view to grabbing emerging business opportunities.
A recent report by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) projects that Africa is set to become one of the biggest markets for solar lamps by 2015 owing to right conditions for use of these kits.
Global giants Total, Panasonic and Energizer have shown interest in venturing into the country’s solar energy sector.
Source: Business Daily Kenya
By Neville Otuki