Solar panel dealers in Kenya have recorded a surge in sales in what is being attributed to the increased appetite by businesses and households for cost-effective energy solutions

Davis & Shirtliff Technical Director Eng. Philip Holi has said the switch is due to the need by customers to cut down operational costs growing need for environmental consciousness as a way of mitigating adverse effects of climate change.

“Sustainability and inexhaustible characteristics of solar energy have made this renewable energy an affordable and reliable option for businesses and households,” said Holi.

According to the 2019 National Census report, solar lighting uptake in homes was recorded at 19.3pc Rural areas recorded above 29.9pc, higher than the rural national grid connections that stood at 26pc over the period.

Over 2.3 million households in the country rely on solar for lighting homes and powering businesses with demand for this renewable energy rising exponentially over the last few years.

The energy management regulations of 2012 require that businesses carry out regular energy audits and demonstrate energy savings achieved.

“With the reduction in pricing of panels, grid parity is a reality and many companies are seeing their investment payback in 4 – 5 years in terms of electricity cost savings. Many businesses are also seeking to become much more environmentally friendly and investment in solar is seen as a means of demonstrating that,” said Holi.

Home solar power systems also provide reliable power backups in case of power outages or erratic power supply.

To meet rising demand in the country, the firm recently announced the completion of the Tatu City Distribution Centre enabling it to hold much greater stocks of solar modules making them readily available at a lower cost to its customers.

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Similarly, the firm said it will continue working with its manufacturing partners to design affordable solar energy solutions as part of its long-term plans of making power more accessible to its customers.

The shift to solar has seen Kenya Power and Lighting Company raise concerns saying some of its industrial customers — who account for about 54.8 percent of its sales revenues — are gradually shifting to own-generated solar power, dealing a further blow to its already dwindling finances.

“The company operated in a challenging environment over the financial year under review, where demand growth at 3.7 percent remained below the projected level of five percent. The dampened demand growth is further compounded with the increased threats of grid defection by the industrial category as decentralized renewable energy options are becoming more available and cheaper,” Kenya Power revealed in its latest annual report.

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