Monthly Archives

August 2023

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

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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


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

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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


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

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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


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

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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.


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

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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.