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January 2021

Do you know the cost of each meal you cook?

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These were some of the questions a team of staff at the Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) sort to answer during a cooking demonstration held on 22nd January 2021. The team sliced tomatoes, onions, and coriander as well as peeled potatoes, and cooking bananas. Ugali, rice, kales, cabbages, and traditional kienyeji chicken were also prepared. The cooking demonstration was an educative session by SERC Quality Manager, GEng. Anne Wacera Wambugu on the use of AC Electric Pressure Cookers (EPC). Each EPC had an energy monitor provided by Pereybere Energy, who are collaborating with Strathmore University on the electric cooking projects.


“The experience was great especially cooking kienyeji chicken in forty minutes and at a cost of Kshs 8.50. The exercise was also a super team-building opportunity as everyone did all they could to ensure the meals were ready on time regardless of the new cooking style.” Martin Mutembei, Project Coordinator, FCDO funded Transforming Energy Access Learning Partnership Program.


Starting February, the team from Strathmore and Pereybere will distribute 100 AC EPCs attached to an energy monitor to newly electrified (through the Last Mile Connectivity Project) households in Murangá, Kericho, and Kisumu. They will then track the use of the pressure cookers for 6 months, through an online platform.


“Learning how to cook using electric pressure cookers was quite an interesting experience. What I liked more about the whole experience apart from learning different energy profiles of the food we cooked, was seeing the promising sustainable future both economically and environmentally that these electric pressure cookers and the soon to be developed solar cookers will bring.” Lisa Nzeyimana, Project Development Executive, Africa Energy Services Group, Rwanda.


The exercise is a combined effort from several electric cooking projects which together will:

  • Document and anticipate any quality challenges that the electric cooking sector might experience now and in the future.
  • Encourage and understand the use of electric pressure cookers by on-grid customers connected by the Last Mile Connectivity Project.
  • Develop an electric cooker suitable for off-grid areas – a project financed by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 under the LEAP-RE project.


The cooking demonstration was in preparation for the launch of the data collection exercise early next month.


This article was written by Anne Njeri

Making Solar Work

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Strathmore Energy Research Centre (SERC) and MDF Training and Consulting are implementing a capacity-building project under the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is supported by Nuffic. The project, dubbed Making Solar Work, involves implementing a Tailor-Made Training that aims to build the capacity of the Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) and the Arusha Technical College Solar Training Centre (ATCSTC) staff.


The first phase began on 1st December 2020 with a three-day field study visit at SERC. During this time, the team had a benchmarking session on the legal and regulatory framework in the energy sector, highlighting training accreditation and licensing of solar technicians and engineers. Later, the participants discussed the solar PV course curricula, training transcripts and training kits used at SERC giving a high-level review of training off-grid solar systems, grid-tie systems, hybrid solar systems and solar water pumping systems.


“I have seen a practical solar energy system in Strathmore University that feeds into the grid. That was new for me. I also learnt that in Kenya there is a solar regulatory body and an approved curriculum and certification for solar workers. Upon our return, we will endeavor to work with our government to encourage more solar use in Tanzania” Eng. Urbanus Melkior, a lecturer at ASTSC since 2011.


The five will then share their knowledge with fifteen technical trainers and facilitators from vocational training colleges in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Massai lands, and Moshi.


“I have received a training manual that will help as a reference point when I return to Tanzania. I have found that the solar courses here are more advanced and will help me upgrade my existing skills,” said Elvitha Issack, Trainer at TAREA, Solar Department


All our training sessions are hands-on and allow every participant a chance to feel and touch the sample solar equipment used for training. Our labs provide a 14kWp PV/genset/storage demonstrational hybrid system which can be operated in battery storage or fuel saver configuration.


Would you like to learn more on Solar PV courses? Click this link to learn more.


This article was written by Thomas Bundi and Anne Njeri Njoroge.