Supply chain disruption from COVID-19 combined with extreme weather has disrupted electricity supplies. As the pandemic and extreme weather disrupt electricity supplies for Kenyans, alternative energy sources like solar power are providing sustainable options.
One in four Kenyans – mostly in rural areas – do not have access to electricity.
"Sometimes I would even take the tin lamp to use in the kitchen, leaving my children in darkness. But now I do not have to because there is solar lighting in my kitchen," says one farm worker.
When Lucyline Wanja Silas installed a 12-volt solar power unit at her home to help her children study at night, little did she know it would become essential to her and her neighbours in Gakunga village, central Kenya, during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wanja, a 48-year-old farm worker, said she had not made any money since the country’s lockdown started in March, but the solar photovoltaic (PV) unit she purchased in January means she no longer needs to buy kerosene for lamplight.
And she can also help others in her area who are without electricity, either because of faults on power lines around the country due to heavy rains since March or because they could not pay their bills after losing their jobs during the pandemic.
"My neighbours who are experiencing blackouts now come to me so that I can charge their phones for them for a fee," she said, adding that they pay 20 to 50 Kenyan shillings ($0.19-0.46).
"There is no money out there. I do not know what I could be using to buy kerosene if I had not installed this solar unit."
With extreme weather and the economic impact of COVID-19 plunging many Kenyans into darkness, alternative energy sources are increasingly important – even for families connected to the grid, said Pamela Mukami Njeru, a community health volunteer in the central Mt. Kenya region.
One in four Kenyans – mostly in rural areas – do not have access to electricity. Those who do face high costs and frequent blackouts due to an unreliable supply.
As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to climb in Kenya, the lack of reliable power can be a matter of life and death, said Njeru, whose work involves taking patients with urgent health problems to and from hospital."Without a power source, families facing an emergency are not able to keep their mobile phones charged to call us. This is how having […]