The Future of Transport in Kenya is Electric

By | News

Globally, we continue to witness adverse weather conditions in the form of floods, heavy snow, forest fires, drought, blizzards among others due to climate change. As a country, we need to rethink how we contribute to the effects experienced globally especially in the roads sector which is powered mostly by fossil fuels and 72 percent imported petroleum products. It is projected that the roads sector will increase greenhouse gas emissions by 3 percent in 2030 up from 13 percent in 2015 not to mention the effects it will have on our health.


It is with this sobering reality and a bid to reach Kenya’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to abate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by thirty two percent by 2030, that the Ministry of Roads and Transport established the Electric Mobility (e-Mobility) Taskforce to develop a National e-Mobility policy, Strategy, Legislations and Regulations for Kenya in August 2023.


On 27th March 2024, the e-Mobility taskforce launched the draft National e-Mobility policy with a mission to create a pathway towards transportation that is more sustainable, efficient, and equitable, powered by e-Mobility with a vision to position Kenya as a leader in e-Mobility transition in Africa.



The draft policy is guided by seven key objectives that includes developing legal and regulatory frameworks, promoting local manufacturing and assembly of electric vehicles, enhancing e-Mobility infrastructure, building local technical capacity, scaling up socioeconomic measures, reducing over reliance on Road Maintenance Levy (RML) and improving fiscal and non-fiscal measures to promote fast adoption of electric vehicles in Kenya.


During the launch, Cabinet Secretary (CS), Kipchumba Murkomen EGH stated that the Ministry of Roads and Transport has begun the process of assigning green-coloured number plates for all electric vehicles including electric motorbikes. Special plates he added will help raise awareness about electric vehicles.


The use of green number plates as a non-fiscal incentive is a good start but more needs to be done to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. The draft national e-Mobility policy highlights the importance of also having fiscal incentives as part of the policy packages that can encourage Kenyan’s make the ultimate switch from internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicles (EVs).


Currently, to import a fully built electric bus will cost around Kshs 60 million (USD 453,000) while a fully built imported ICE bus will cost around Kshs 25 million (USD 188,000). In the two-wheeler sector, a new electric motorbike costs roughly Kshs 240,000 (USD 1,800) and an ICE motorbike costs about Kshs 200,000 (USD 1500).


During her speech, Rebecca Miano, EGH reiterated the importance of incentives and affirmed stakeholders that the Ministry of Investment, Trade, and Industry is working to incentivize EV manufacturers, assemblers especially batteries which is the most expensive component in the manufacturing of electric vehicles. This policy she added will guide the ministry in the implementation of this.


The draft national e-Mobility Policy is now publicly available. We urge all Kenyans to acquaint themselves with the future of sustainable transport in Kenya by reading the policy and chiming their thoughts as we move the process forward.


The e-Mobility taskforce will now embark on public participation meetings in six regions, commencing mid-April. These meetings will be open to the public, providing an opportunity for them to gain deeper insights into the policy and share their thoughts.


Strathmore University continues to play a pivotal role in developing the policy, with three members of staff actively participating in the e-Mobility taskforce. Professor Izael Da Silva leads the team, alongside Ignatius Maranga and Anne Njoroge.


This article was written by Anne Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre, and a member of the e-Mobility Taskforce.

Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) workshop: Nurturing cross-sectoral connections for a climate-compatible future

By | News

As part of our goal to care for people and the planet, we must look at sustainable methods of living. It is for this reason that the Climate Compatible Growth (CCG) organises an annual Workshop that look into considering a path of low carbon development whilst simultaneously unlocking profitable investment in green infrastructure, opening up new markets and supporting delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals. This year the workshop was a collaboration of Strathmore University through the Strathmore Energy Research Centre and the CCG Research Team themed, Nurturing cross-sectoral connections for a climate-compatible future. The workshop venue was the serene environment of Maanzoni Lodge, which aligns with the theme of sustainability by recycling water from all the output sources.


The two-day workshop kicked off with assurance from government stakeholders from the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and EPRA, that the government is committed to renewable energy matters. Dr Faith Wandera highlighted that the government is keen on using the same approach where there is cross-sectoral collaboration on integrated national energy planning, from electricity planning to whole energy systems planning that includes clean cooking which is one of the government’s key agendas by 2028. It was also mentioned that awareness is key in policy-making to ensure the ordinary person gets to understand the impact of CCG.

Robina Abuya from the British High Commission assured of the British government’s support towards this course. She also stated that the British High Commission’s goal was towards Green Urbanization, Green industrialisation and Sustainable Development. The deliverable is to create a cleaner, greener environment.


Dr Lara Allen from the University of Cambridge says CCG has networks in 6 countries. Kenya is the leader and the frontier of these programs. The goal is to create special interest groups of researchers and people who will be able to continue with this mission. She also highlighted that the plan is to position Kenya as a State that will be able to receive research funding from diverse financial institutions that will have a positive long term impact on the people in Kenya.

From  Strathmore University we had Dr. Eng. Julius Butime from the School of Computing and Engineering Sciences. He assured that Strathmore is ready to support this project and it has been at the forefront of research in CCG. He also intimated with enthusiasm the strategic position that Strathmore University is at in ensuring sustainability of the CCG programme in Kenya as a center of excellence and capacity building to ensure sustainability.


The discussions now delved into Kenya’s Clean Cooking Sector led by Dr Faith Wandera. It was noted through research that 68.5% of Kenyans rely on traditional methods of cooking and of the 68.5% which is equivalent to 9.1 Million households 1.7 million households are urban and 7.4 million households are rural. Firewood, Charcoal and LPG are the 3 key primary sources of fuel in Kenya. Within this discussion, they have developed an action plan which includes;


  1. Promote local manufacturing
  2. Clean Cooking subsidy program
  3. Reframe Awareness

Next, we had a presentation from Mungai Kihara from the Directorate of Electricity and Renewable Energy. He remarked that Kenya has the opportunity to grow. 90% of Kenya’s power comes from green energy, and since Kenya’s GDP is mostly built by agriculture, green hydrogen has a good capability to grow. Anne Kiburi Senior Specialist Energy Transition Plan “ Kenyas is at its turning point and has the opportunity to grow”. The discussion was based on the just launched Nenya Energy Transition Investment Plan that provides a harmonized roadmap for the energy sector with a  holistic approach that includes the investment requirement for its implementation. Also, It sets the stage for the development of energy sector targets to be incorporated into future National Blueprint. Martin Mutembei from SERC stated that the Kenya CCG Network programme  takes a holistic and cross-sectoral approach to addressing climate-compatible and inclusive growth.


The programme’s ambition is driven by strong and enduring national, international partnerships and co-creativity. He also mentioned of the current focus in terms work with the concept of “Data-to-Deal” where the term Data-to-Deal refers to actions taken throughout an entire process that runs from data collection, system modeling, and development planning, all the way through to national financing strategies and project finance arrangements to the agreement of a deal (investment), all driven by a strong stakeholder engagement process.

The workshop later went into different panel discussions that were built around the Ppecial Interest Groups (SIGs) discussing:


  1. National Level Planning
  2. County Level Planning
  3. Transport Sector
  4. Policy Pathway
  5. Clean Cooking
  6. Climate Entrepreneurship
  7. CLEWS- Climate, Land, Energy and Water Nexus


Article written by:  David Kimathi


Kenya shares its learnings with Tanzania and Uganda on the 2050 Carbon Calculator

By | News

At the end of September, Kenya hosted a webinar for the Tanzania and Uganda academic, corporate, and government energy experts to share its key learnings and experience while developing a localized 2050 Carbon Calculator, the Kenya Carbon Emission Reduction Tool (KCERT) 2050.


KCERT 2050 is an engineering-based modelling tool that uses scenario analysis to look at different pathways for decarbonisation and their impact on reducing overall and sectorial greenhouse gas emissions. During its development, the team modelled six sectors: Transport, Industry, Buildings, Land Use and Bio-energy, Electricity and CO2 Removal, and Gases, with 2015 as the base year and emissions projected to 2050 and 2100.


The KCERT 2050 tool is open-source and allows its users to address fundamental issues on climate change. It looks at future energy demands for Kenya and the impact at an individual, corporate, and government level. Built for Kenyans by Kenyans, the tool is a platform where decision-makers, policy makers, and administrators can co-design a locally based solution for climate and energy issues. The tool was developed under the patronage of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and will be hosted and updated by the same team.


“In Kenya, the development of the tool was led by the government and anchored at the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. This was a strategic move as the public sector has access to data that is credible, certified and verifiable,” said Peter Thobora, Assistant Director, Renewable Energy, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum. “At the heart of the development of this tool were all key stakeholders in the public, private, and academic sector to ensure ownership of the tool,” he added.


KCERT 2050 will provide quantities of energy supply, demand, emissions, and potential implications for key sectors in Kenya on matters such as import dependence and land requirements. It will also offer a platform to facilitate policy debate about the possible future pathways for the Kenyan energy sector and enable policy interventions for deeper analysis. Further, it could help Kenya meet its updated National Determined Contribution (NDC) of 32% for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.


There are three different tools within KCERT 2050 for different categories of people. We have my2050, a simplified animation of the web tool and excel for the general public and students. The second tool is the web tool, a front end version of the Excel spreadsheet used by policy makers, stakeholders and well-informed individuals. The final tool is the detailed Microsoft Excel model targeted at technical experts.


During the webinar, Dr. Betsy Muriithi-Ochieng’ explained how the tool works. “The KCERT 2050 model is based on an Excel spreadsheet which feeds the more user-friendly web-based interface. This model captures all inputs and outputs, as well as the different calculations needed to measure energy supply and demand, and greenhouse gas emissions.” Excel, she added, is a simple, easy and accessible tool, making the learning curve for the majority not too steep.


After a glimpse on the journey of developing the KCERT 2050 tool, David Orr, Emerging Markets Trade and Investment Lead at Mott MacDonald and Programme Country Manager for Kenya reiterated the importance of exploring how the 2050 Carbon Calculator could be applied at the regional level. He told participants that decarbonization at the country level needs to be locally-led, transparent, and verifiable with a global focus.


The webinar was closed by Prof. Izael da Silva, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, Strathmore University, who credits the success of the 11-month development process to the government of Kenya. The collaboration among government, private sector, and academia was visible and the fruits can be seen.


 “This project, by its nature, continues to grow, create more interest and bear more fruit. We at Strathmore are considering including the KCERT 2050 tool as a unit in the Masters in Sustainable Energy Transition,” he added.


This project is led by Dr. John Olukuru, Head of Data Science, Strathmore University, and Patrick Mwanzia, Ag. Director, Strathmore Energy Research Centre. It is developed through the UK Government’s International 2050 Calculator programme, funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ, formerly BEIS) and implemented by Mott MacDonald, Imperial College London, Strathmore University, CLIMACT and Ricardo.


The author of this article is Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer, Strathmore Energy Research Centre.


Helping entrepreneurs in the cookstove industry to professionalise their businesses

By | News


By Evans Ongwae


Through a GIZ-Green Climate Fund (GCF) project, Strathmore University Energy Research Centre (SERC) is empowering stove producers and last-mile entrepreneurs with skills to help them improve their access to productive resources and sustainable earning potential. These include market-oriented technical, entrepreneurial and managerial skills, confidence building, and other areas of expertise.


The project is systematically linked and integrated with other complementary interventions, such as access to markets, appropriate technology, microfinance, entrepreneurship development and follow-up technical assistance, as well as mentoring and coaching services. It adopts a comprehensive, demand-driven, and gender responsive strategy to help entrepreneurs in the cookstove sector to professionalise their businesses.


Under the quality assurance work package, the project further seeks to improve the efficiency, durability and safety of biomass cooking stoves in the country, which directly results in better quality of life in terms of health (reduced carbon emissions), time (reduce period of cooking), money (reduced cost of cooking) and climate (reduced deforestation). All the benefits are aligned to the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoEP) goal of “Universal Access to Modern Cooking Solutions for all Kenyans by 2030” (revised to 2028 by the Principal Secretary, in 2019), and to the Sustainable Development Goal (SGDs). 


In particular, the project supports SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy; SDG 3 on good health and well-being, with respect to reducing the number of household air pollution-related deaths, currently estimated at three million deaths annually (WHO 2022 household air pollution burden of disease); SDG 5 on gender equality by reducing drudgery in cooking, particularly for women and the girl child; and SDG 13 on climate action by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). SERC is doing so through quality assurance, and capacity building initiatives targeting the cookstove value chain. 


Clean cooking drive


Pre-measurement of the amount of charcoal (fuel) used in the Hot Start Phase of the Water Boiling Test.


GIZ-GCF Project Coordinator, Teddy Nalubega, says clean cooking is of interest to Kenya. The Government is pursuing the goal of universal access to clean cooking (or climate-friendly cooking) by 2028. 


She explains why this matters. “More than 80 percent of rural and urban Kenya combined use biomass for cooking (Sustainable Energy for all Africa hub 2023). This affects people’s quality of life (because inefficient cookstoves cause indoor air pollution, which is unhealthy). It causes loss of time (spent collecting wood fuel), and reduced forest cover.”


Ms Nalubega adds: “SERC comes in to provide a solution on how to reduce the sale of biomass cooking stoves that are less efficient, by helping grow the numbers and the sale of more efficient ones.”


SERC, she continues, established a lab for testing the efficiency levels of biomass cookstoves sold in the market.


She says that the lab initiated stove testing this year and has so far tested four brands and found the efficiency levels could be better.  Three brands scored less than 35 percent.


Ms Nalubega says SERC encourages cookstove producers to ask for testing services at the Centre. The facility started testing with stoves brought in through the GCF project implementing partners such as GIZ, who work with producers. The testing lab is open to all cookstove producers for stove testing services, new product design and product improvement under research and development at SERC.


“We are working with cooking stoves producers and last mile entrepreneurs,” says Ms Nalubega.


The project is supporting these producers, most of them artisanal and others professional, to improve the quality of their stoves and raise efficiency levels to at least 35 percent or more, in line with Kenya Bureau of Standards (KBS) guidelines.


An energy-saving rocket stove.




Ms Nalubega sees the GIZ-GCF project’s quality assurance initiative at SERC making a major contribution towards clean cooking, with tremendous impact.


“It will help improve the quality of life (health and wealth) for cookstove users, especially women and children, save time and money, reduce deaths caused by indoor pollution, and (help) stem climate change,” asserts Ms Nalubega.


Professionalising the value chain


The Ag Co-Director at SERC, Prisca Atieno, says through the GIZ-GCF project, the centre is helping entrepreneurs in the cooking stoves value chain to professionalise their businesses.


“We are honing their entrepreneurial skills,” she says, adding that they are particularly bolstering women-led enterprises “to stand the test of time.”


She observes that the traditional biomass cooking stoves business is dominated by artisanal enterprises. “Their businesses can grow once they have been professionalised. They can get loans to expand their operations, and get large orders, for example, from the humanitarian sector,” says Ms Atieno.


SERC has developed a business development manual used in training this group of entrepreneurs “to bolster their entrepreneurial skills – such as developing sustainable business models, marketing and branding, calculating costs and pricing, financial planning and management, record-keeping, business planning, and ICT skills for business, among other modules.”


So far, SERC has trained 200 entrepreneurs, both men and women, with women-led enterprises accounting for 44 percent.


Ms Atieno adds: “We plan to reach out to more people and share knowledge with them. The training takes four to five days and most of it takes place at the county level.”


The project targets to have trained at least 1,000 by December 2024. Those who have received the training have experienced business growth, according to Ms Atieno.


Expansion of the training will involve SERC training Trainers of Trainers (ToTs). These trainers will offer training in the counties. This is through technical and vocational education and training (TVETs) in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA), Ms Atieno explains.


The GIZ-GCF project started in September 2021 and ends in December 2024.


About SERC


SERC is an applied technology laboratory within Strathmore University. Established in 2012, it carries out high-quality research, consultancy, professional training, laboratory testing and project development in the energy sector. SERC effectively offers these services to government agencies, private and public sector players.


To learn more about SERC and the services it offers, visit


This article was first published on the Daily Nation and was written by Evans Ongwae


Strathmore study offers ideas on how to promote e-mobilityin Kenya

By | News

Kenya can accelerate e-mobility uptake by reviewing the taxation, standards, importation and registration of electric vehicles. Policies in favour of e-mobility are expected to significantly reduce the transport sector’s carbon emissions. 


Several studies funded by GIZ and conducted by Strathmore University in collaboration with Knights Energy recommend so. 


Largely, the studies suggest that tax reliefs or exemptions for electric vehicle components can boost e-mobility in the country. Such measures can spur local assembly, conversion, and manufacturing of electric vehicles, observes the report titled, ‘Importation and taxation of electric vehicles in Kenya: Proposals for alignment of the registration process.’


One of the researchers who participated in the study, Ignatius Maranga of Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC), says the studies identified barriers that hinder further uptake of electric vehicles in the country. 


A report compiled from the study notes that, “since Kenya doesn’t manufacture electric vehicles, importation and taxation plays a key role in the availability and affordability of vehicles. Taxation is a determinant of the final price of electric vehicles.”


The study is funded by the Advancing Transport Climate Strategies in Rapidly Motorising Countries project (TraCS). TraCS is a project implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is funded through the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).


Kenya aims to reduce its overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030 compared to the business as usual scenario.


National data shows that the transport sector accounts for about 20 percent of Kenya’s total GHG emissions. The emissions are increasing at a faster rate than in any other sector, hence the need to reduce them.


A TraCS analysis shows that an increased uptake of electric mobility has the second highest mitigation potential.


The report identifies electric mobility as a key factor to contribute to Kenya’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) of GHG emissions.


Mr. Maranga, quality engineer at SERC, says the year-long study carried out in 2020 looked at the e-mobility status in the country. It examined the existing tax regime, the status of standards on electric vehicles, and the registration of imported EVs by the National Transport Safety Authority (NTSA). 


The report recommends that the Government establishes an electric mobility inter-agency team consisting of relevant public sector institutions.  The team can comprise institutions such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), NTSA, the State Department of Transport, the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Environment, other stakeholders, and the private sector.


This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27th August 2023 by


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via

Would you like to know how to install a solar PV system? come to Strathmore Energy Research Centre.

By | News

Since 2014, Strathmore University’s Energy Research Centre (SERC) has been offering training on solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems, mostly to engineers and technicians. Now, anyone interested in learning about how to install the systems can do so at SERC and several technical institutions.


This is after GIZ funded the training of trainers of trainers (ToTs) for 40 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions in the country, at SERC.


“These trainers have been equipped to teach solar PV installation following the National Industrial Training Authority (NITA) curriculum,” says SERC quality engineer, Ignatius Maranga.


Already, the training is helping increase the uptake of solar PV systems in the country, thus boosting the tapping of a key renewable energy source, says, Mr Maranga.


SERC, established in 2012 to offer renewable energy consultancy services, has trained 4,000 engineers and technicians in the course on how to design, install and maintain PV systems. “Majority are engineers and technicians who want to seek licensing by EPRA as solar PV installers,” explains Mr Maranga.


He says whereas majority of trainees who undergo the Tier 3 course level training at SERC are engineers, experienced technicians also go through the course. SERC also offers tiers 1 and 2 course level, which are the basic and intermediate levels of the courses respectively.


The technical courses are classified according to EPRA’s Solar PV regulations of 2012. People who undergo the Tier 1 training are capable of installing DC systems of up to 100 watts. Those who have undergone Tier 2 training can design, install and maintain standalone PV systems of up to 300 watts. Those who complete the Tier 3 training have no limit as to the capacity of the PV solar systems they can install in household, commercial and industrial buildings.


Mr Maranga says demand for the training is “very high as we run them once every month, and the number per class are 15.” He, however, says solar water pumping and solar cooling courses run twice a year.


Mr Maranga added that the increase in the number of skilled electrical engineers and technicians is enabling more individuals and organisations to adopt solar PV technology. It has also spurred SERC to develop some specific courses, such as solar water pumping and solar cooling systems training.


Actors in the humanitarian sector, such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, and ICRC have funded the training of their engineers and technicians.


SERC developed a solar cooling training curriculum with the support of Germany’s University of Hohenheim, Solar Cooling Engineering and funding from GIZ. Three small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the first beneficiaries of solar cooling systems developed after the course. These are: a herbs farm in Thika, a dairy farm in Tongaren, and Dunga Beach for fish farming.


This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27 th August 2023 by


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via

Finally, here comes a tool for calculating Kenya’s carbon emission, thanks to Strathmore

By | News

Kenya now has a scientific tool for calculating national carbon emissions up to the year 2100 – and the possible sustainability pathways. The Kenya Carbon Emission Reduction Tool (KCERT) allows for identifying and exploring various scenarios for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including net zero by 2050. 


The scenarios are based on accounting for how energy is produced, converted, and consumed showing the extent to which energy technology, behaviour and land-use change might impact the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.


The tool, developed by Strathmore University in consultation with diverse stakeholders, will be hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum for use by government officials, policymakers, and other stakeholders. It is publicly available and open-source, allowing anyone to explore decarbonisation pathways.


Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) quality engineer, Thomas Bundi, says interested parties can interact with the web tool through the Ministry of Energy portal and download the detailed Excel tool.


SERC is finalising the training of Ministry officials this month. This will pave the way for the Ministry of Energy to host KCERT on its web site.


KCERT is funded by the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ). Strathmore University is the implementing institution, with additional support provided by the global engineering firm Mott MacDonald and Imperial College London.


KCERT uses scenario analysis, supported by expert stakeholder engagement activities to forecast and quantify carbon emissions.


SERC consulted hundreds of experts. It held workshops and meetings during the year-long development phase.


Mr Bundi says KCERT was adapted to the local context following the general model structure of the MacKay Carbon Calculator developed by the UK Government to calculate UK carbon emissions and future carbon pathways. Over 60 countries have a Calculator; Kenya’s is the first in East Africa.


KCERT is built in Kenya by Kenyans for Kenya. Kenyan-specific data on energy demand and supply, and social and economic indicators based on extensive literature review were included in conjunction with expert consultation.  


The tool covers five energy demand and supply sectors of the economy namely electricity generation, transport, industry, land use, and residential and commercial buildings.


The pathways for reducing emissions are based on a set of parameters or variables called “levers,” which constitute the backbone of KCERT. The levers represent different effort levels or trajectories towards sectoral decarbonisation.


The tool depicts the emission reduction scenarios, based on the country’s ambition. The least attractive scenario is where the country maintains the business-as-usual stance. Other options denote different levels of ambition, including the highest, 4, which promises rapid emission cuts in the run up to 2050, when the country hopes to have become a net zero economy. 


The tool is currently available at 


This article was first published in the Sunday Nation under the Climate Action series on 27th August 2023 by


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via

Strathmore Energy Research Center wins an award to develop new solutions and build capacity to unlock the potential of solar thermal in East Africa

By | News

Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) won an award from Innovate UK to develop a two-year project with SolarisKit, to create a center of excellence for solar thermal installation using the world’s first flat-packed solar thermal collector. Innovate UK is part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). This center of excellence will harness the potential of solar thermal technology in Kenya, Rwanda, and sub-Saharan Africa in meeting its heating needs. Globally, solar thermal technology provides a way to address the energy trilemma by reducing consumer energy costs, improving energy security, while lowering carbon emissions through heating. However, the current solar thermal technology penetration across sub-Saharan Africa remains low at 0.5 percent.


In East Africa alone, wood and charcoal remain heavily relied upon to meet the demands of heating, leading to negative effects on the environment. Further, the continued use of wood and charcoal has led to increased deforestation, contributing to 10 percent of global warming and poor health conditions such as respiratory infections when used indoors, and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. On the other hand, the use of electricity for heating is expensive for households and businesses and substantially increases the demand on the grid, resulting in carbon emissions where fossil fuels are used.


Some of the key barriers of adopting solar thermal technology in East Africa include: high cost and complex installation, difficulty in transportation, and lack of suitable and well trained technicians to install and maintain solar thermal technology. The local manufacture of solar thermal collectors also requires significant capital investment.


To mitigate this challenge,  the project will develop the following key components, over the next two years, to enhance the penetration of solar thermal technology in East Africa. This will be implemented while reducing the impact of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, which need to be halved to reach net zero by 2050.


  • Create a complete solar thermal system comprising of Solaris Kit’s low-cost easy-to-install flat-packable solar thermal collector, and a plastic piping hydraulic kit to lower system costs.
  • Test a new lower cost DC powered solar thermal pump controller compatible with high efficiency pumps, improving system performance while further reducing system cost.
  • Install demonstrator systems in Kenya and Rwanda.
  • Establish a center of excellence housed at Strathmore Energy Research Center for training solar thermal installers.
  • Conduct a targeted behavior change campaign to raise awareness on the use of solar thermal solutions in East Africa.


The solar thermal collector developed by SolarisKit is the world’s first flat-packable solar thermal, a unique device which has a lower manufacturing cost, easier to transport, and simpler to install; addressing key barriers which have prevented the adoption of solar thermal technology. The intelligent, low-cost solar pump controller developed in this project will be suitable for global solar hot water applications, with the ultimate goal of reducing global greenhouse emissions linked to heating.


The SolarisKit solar collector is manufactured flat-packed for assembly on site, reducing shipping costs and challenges. It is small and light enough to be installed by a single person, making it much easier to install than current solutions in the market.


This project is funded by UK Innovate, under the Energy Catalyst Competition, and is led by Ignatius Maranga.


This article was written by Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.


What’s your story? We’d like to hear it. Contact us via

The 30th edition of RES4Africa Academy’s Technical and Vocational School was finalized with a field visit in Nairobi, Kenya

By | News

Around 19 young energy professionals from East Africa participated in the 30th training edition of the RES4Africa Academy Technical and Vocational School (former MGA), supported by the knowledge partner Enel Foundation and carried out  in person for the first time since the end of the pandemic in Kenya, from the 10th to the 14th of July 2023. 


The lectures hosted at Strathmore University’s Energy Research Centre (SERC) provided trainees with first-hand capacity building on decentralised renewable energy solutions and a wide set of technical topics (i.e., renewable and non-renewable generation solutions, energy needs worldwide, RE potentials in Africa, solar energy radiation and resource characterisation for DRE design micro-grid architecture, energy procedures for productive uses in rural communities, etc.).


As a crucial part of the learning path, on the 13th of July, students had the opportunity to be involved in a field visit to Nairobi, Kenya. During the practical experiences conducted at St. Kizito VTI, the participants were able to benefit from hands-on demonstrations and exercises on system installation, commissioning, and decommissioning. The aim was to bridge the gap between theory and practise as well as deal with technical topics in line with this edition’s content for Module 1: Decentralised Energy Systems (DRE).


The activities were organised in collaboration with the RES4Africa Academy’s Technical and Vocational School Network: St. Kizito Vocational Training Institute, AVSI Foundation, and Enel Foundation, while the lectures were delivered by experts from Strathmore University, St. Kizito VTI, AVSI Foundation, The Companionships of Work Organisation CoWA, Enel Green Power, Enel Grids, and Sapienza University.


This article was first published on RES4Africa.


30 clean energy ambassadors trained and ready to roar in Makueni county

By | News

Wote town, Makueni county hosted the first energy champions training on 20th and 21st June, 2023 for thirty ward representatives. This training was a special request by H.E Mutula Kilonzo Jnr, Governor of Makueni, where he reiterated, in a previous meeting, the importance of having a bottom-up approach while developing the Makueni county energy plan.


The energy champions were selected from each ward to assist the county advocate for clean energy use and make energy transition understandable at the grass root level. During the two-day training, the champions had an opportunity to learn the linkages between climate change and the energy sector, the basic use and operation of solar technologies such as solar panels, solar cooling and solar water pumping, the importance of improved cookstoves, communication and active listening. The training included seminar style teaching, group discussions and role plays.


“The skills I have received from this training have propelled my desire to advocate further for clean cooking technologies. During my interaction with women in the community, I have found that they are directly affected by the fumes produced by firewood when preparing meals for their families. Consequently, using firewood daily makes them prone to lung infections. This training has equipped me on how I can best advocate for “Jiko Kisasa” –  a clean cooking stoves which I have been using since 2008” Salome Kilonzi, retailer of clean cook stoves and solar home systems at Membuten supplies, Mbitine Ward.


This training was timely for Makueni County stated Eng. Naomi Nthambi, Chief Officer, Energy. She noted that projects advocating for the use of clean cooking and energy have a nil or low uptake due to lack of community awareness. The newly trained energy champion’s will be our ambassadors to help penetrate the community and spread the good news of clean and safe energy. Collective action and behaviour change at the local and individual level will be driven by their influence and proactiveness within the community to advocate for clean energy. Furthermore, they will be the voice of the county in promoting clean energy, sharing information about new and ongoing projects, and assisting the county in overseeing these projects. 


The Makueni county energy plan is now sixty percent complete. “The team has now begun writing the various chapters of the county energy plan and analyzing productive uses of energy at the county level targeting projects that are utilizing energy for income generating activities.” affirmed Patrick Mwanzia, Ag. Director, Strathmore Energy Research Centre. “We are also identifying key projects that can be financed during the implementation of the county energy plan to help the community advance on electricity access, clean cooking, energy efficiency and conservation matters. He added.


In the month of July 2023, the team will conduct a carbon credits training in collaboration with the national treasury.


This project is funded by UKPACT in partnership with the Makueni County and World Resources Institute and is led by Patrick Mwanzia.


This article was written by Anne Njeri Njoroge, Communications Officer at Strathmore Energy Research Centre.