In its 2023 energy report, World Economic Forum highlighted that globally, solar power had become the cheapest form of energy, closely followed by onshore and offshore wind.
While solar is a cheap investment in developed nations, it is still an expensive venture in Kenya compared to electricity, commonly known as main grid power.
Speaking to Kenyans.co.ke James Ogutu, an Electrical Engineer from NAS International Limited, explained why solar power remains an expensive option in Kenya.
Ogutu, professionally qualified to install solar and grid power, explained that the initial capital to install solar panels is beyond the reach of many Kenyans.
“Unless you plan to use solar power for minimal lighting, it is a very expensive affair, especially when many Kenyans struggle economically.
“An average household in Kenya with minimal electrical appliances requires Ksh350,000 to install solar power that can serve efficiently,” he explained.
Long Term Costs
In developed countries, solar is preferred because it is cheaper in the long term compared to main grid power.
Ogutu, who has over eight years of experience in the energy sector, explained that the same cannot be ascertained in Kenya.
“A Ksh350,000 solar installation will serve a household for 10 years without major maintenance.
“An average household uses Ksh1,500 for electricity tokens every month, which means in 10 years that will translate to Ksh180,000. This means main grid power in Kenya is cheaper both in short and long-term plans,” the NAS International Limited engineer explained.
Engineer Ogutu explained that one challenge Kenyans face after installing solar panels is the constant need for upgrades.
A standard installation of Ksh350,000 will support standard electrical appliances like fridges, microwaves and television.
“Should you buy a lawn mower or decide to introduce a heating or cooling system in your house, you must upgrade.
“This is not the case with electricity where you only need a one-time connection,” he explained.
Ogutu, nonetheless, explained that solar was a better alternative in areas experiencing frequent grid power outages or rural areas lacking connectivity.