What you need to know:
- If the Last-Mile Connectivity Project is a top-down electrification model, then its bottom-up equivalent is the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (Kosap).
- Kenya’s success is not hinged on a single model but a hybrid of bottom-up (Kosap), spearheaded by the private sector and development partners, and top-down (Last Mile).
Two models — top-down and bottom-up — have guided the electrification of the country. Power Africa, the signature project for Africa by former US President Barack Obama, aims at producing 30,000 megawatts of electricity to create 60 million new connections and reach 300 million Africans by 2030. After reading their recently released report, “Off-Grid Solar Market Assessment”, I surmised that both models have made us a leader in electrification in Africa.
If the Last-Mile Connectivity Project is a top-down electrification model, then its bottom-up equivalent is the Kenya Off-Grid Solar Access Project (Kosap), the flagship in the off-grid sector. Kenya’s success is not hinged on a single model but a hybrid of bottom-up (Kosap), spearheaded by the private sector and development partners, and top-down (Last Mile), led by the national government and development partners.
The World Bank-funded Kosap is designed to increase energy access in 14 under-served counties via standalone solar systems for households and public facilities, mini-grids, solar water pumps and efficient cooking solutions.
Kenya’s solar home system (SHS) sales success is attributed to a largely favourable regulatory environment, government support and adoption of business models such as pay as you go (PayGo).
On its top-down success, in 2019, the World Bank listed the country as having the highest electrification rate in Africa and third fastest globally. And at 36.84MW, Kenya also has the greatest deployed capacity of off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) in sub-Saharan Africa.
Recognising the bottom-up model, the government has initiated special projects like Kosap and the Kenya Electrification Modernisation Programme that include tender-based opportunities for mini-grid development.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all model or a mutually exclusive electrification; the gist of the report is a classic case of how both private and public institutions can achieve a common objective.
Ms Hassan is the partnership manager, Solarnow Kenya. [email protected]