Kenya Leading the Way for African Renewable Energy Usage

Kenya is a leading example in renewable energy production, deriving over 70% of its power from sources such as geothermal, hydro and wind, while the solar energy sector is gaining popularity for both industrial and residential use.

As talks continue during the African Climate Summit, Kenya’s example to all other nations in the continent cannot be more important during a time of uncertainty with fossil fuel based energy.

To incentivise the adoption of renewable energy, the Kenyan government has eliminated import taxes on certain components like solar panels and inverters, aiming to boost sales.

During the inaugural Africa Climate Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya, President William Ruto emphasised Africa’s capacity to rely entirely on renewable energy sources, stating, “the continent possesses ample potential to achieve complete self-sufficiency by harnessing wind, solar, geothermal, sustainable biomass and hydropower.”

Nevertheless, solar technology imported into Kenya continues to be subjected to import duties, accompanied by a value-added tax of over 15%, passing on the higher cost of going green to consumers.

Solar energy’s dependability and cost-effectiveness, despite initial installation expenses, have attracted major clients such as steel manufacturers and edible oil factories. These businesses constitute a significant customer base for a company based in the capital city, Nairobi.

Innovation within renewable energy technologies is a key part of the green energy changeover. Solar PowerWind PowerHydrogen and other forms of sustainable energy can help achieve this changeover and global net zero targets. The Renewable Energy Institute offers many Expert Pathways designed to allow businesses and professionals to tap into these energy alternatives.

Rashmi Shah, the Managing Director of Clean Power’s Solar Division, reported that the company has completed 25,000 kilowatts of solar installations in the past six years. He emphasised the eco-friendly nature of solar energy, highlighting that clients typically recover their initial investment within the first four years. Shah stated, “we are not polluting the air, raising temperatures, or contributing to climate change. That’s why there’s a growing emphasis on clean energy, with solar being a prominent player.”

Despite Clean Power’s focus on industrial clients, the company has also enabled residential installations, including Shah’s own home, allowing him to operate completely off the grid. This proved advantageous during a recent national blackout, which left those reliant on the national electricity distributor, Kenya Power and Lighting Company, including the country’s main airport, in darkness for hours.

The World Bank has observed a significant increase in the deployment of solar mini-grids across Sub-Saharan Africa, rising from approximately 500 installations in 2010 to more than 3,000 today.

The United Nations Environmental Programme underscores that 60% of the world’s most favourable solar sites are situated in Africa and asserts that there is vast untapped potential, as the continent currently harnesses only 1% of this abundant resource.