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Kenya pushes for renewable energy in rural communities and schools

The national Energy Regulatory Commission is working with rural schools by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Creative Commons: Adam Posey, 2011.

The national Energy Regulatory Commission is working with rural schools by installing solar panels on their rooftops. Creative Commons: Adam Posey, 2011.

Kenyan students are now benefiting from a new government policy that provides renewable energy to rural communities.

As a result of a new federal policy, Kenya is committing to power 60 percent of rural energy needs by renewable sources. Solar potential in Kenya is reportedly high, with the country receiving insolation of 4-6kWh/m2 daily. The national Energy Regulatory Commission is leveraging this asset, and working with rural schools by installing solar panels on their rooftops.

According to the Kenya Bureau of Statistics, only 28 per cent of Kenyans, most of whom live in urban areas, have access to the national grid system.

“People living in very remote areas cannot access the national grid system, hence renewable energy is their only option,” said Nicholas Ozor, an official working for The Africa Technology Policy Studies Networks.

Currently, Kenyan adoption of renewable technology ranks second in Africa, and is likely to continue growing due to an increase in government incentives programs, such as tax waivers for low-carbon technologies. Among other sources of investment, the United States recently launched their “Beyond the Grid” program, which would finance off-grid energy projects in rural Sub-Saharan Africa, from which Kenya will be allocated funding to develop renewable energy projects.

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