Solar use can save 60pc of energy costs

January 30, 2014
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Davis and Shirtliff Technical Director Philip Holi said Kenyans could save about 60 percent of their energy costs if they use solar energy. Photo/ FILE
Davis and Shirtliff Technical Director Philip Holi said Kenyans could save about 60 percent of their energy costs if they use solar energy. Photo/ FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Kenyans have been urged to take up solar energy use in their domestic consumption in order to save their costs.

Speaking to Capital FM Business, Davis and Shirtliff Technical Director Philip Holi said Kenyans could save about 60 percent of their energy costs if they use solar energy.

“Renewable energy will be a viable solution over the non renewable energy, even with the new reserves of oil that we have. They are only going to last us so long; turning more to renewable energy is what we need in the country,” he said.

Holi says uptake of solar energy has been on the rise due to the drops in solar panel prices and is now becoming a viable option for many Kenyans.

He said that in 2012 and 2013 the prices dropped significantly from $5 to 70 US cents per Megawatts.

“In the last three years we have seen tremendous growth of the uptake of solar energy products, and we are continuing to see it. We have tripled our sales in this sector and hope to see more growth,” he said.

He says that renewable energy in Kenya is becoming more and more popular in the country.

“We are at the point of grid parity, where price of solar generation is more or less the same as the price of power from the grid which means a few more cents off from of the cost of panels means that it will make more sense to use solar energy,” he said.

He, however, says solar panel prices should still be reduced further so as every Kenyan is able to afford the product.

“I believe prices probably can still go lower, there is a lot of research and development going into solar panel manufacturing and the continual new methods being developed to improve how panels are manufactured will lower the costs,” he stated.

The Kenyan based multinational company in partnership with solar pump manufacturer Lorentz recently launched a pump scanner application for customers and technicians to remotely monitor borehole performance and stem water wastage from boreholes.

The launch comes as more Kenyans turn to boreholes as a source of water, with studies indicating that at the current rate of drilling, by 2015 there will be approximately 4,900 boreholes across the Nairobi groundwater system, pumping 184,000 cubic metres daily up from 4,130.

“Customers are now able to track the pump performance and get a technician on site whenever they note an abnormal trend in their boreholes output, unlike before, when the biggest problem with boreholes has been that when they malfunction, a technician has to check all parts,” he said.

The controller is available as an application for Android phones as well as accessible via tablets and laptops and is able to store data for up to two years, giving proper records of the pumping activities, including how much water is being produced, at what rate, the amount of power being used, and the length of each pumping session.

The company is also launching solar powered water treatment systems in March 2014.

The systems will make safe drinking water available for more people and reduce incidents of diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. The company has invested about Sh15 million, to a complete research and development facility and a new manufacturing facility in the country of the solar powered water treatment.

“The new product will increase our market base and is targeted for communities who cannot get access to power and clean water throughout the country,” he said.

In 2012 the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) directed that all premises within the jurisdiction of local authorities with hot water requirements of capacity exceeding 100 litres per day to install and use solar heating systems.

The commission also regulated that all existing requirements exceeding 100 litres per day to install and use solar heating energy within a period of five years from the effective day of 25th May 2012.

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