A United States firm, Powerhive is the first private utility firm in Kenya to be granted a licence to sell electricity to the Kenyan public. The firm has successfully carried out field tests of off-grid metering and control solutions over the course of the last two years in Kenya, in an effort to provide power to those living beyond the reach of the national grid.
With financial and technical backing from First Solar, Inc., a leading global provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions, Powerhive pioneered the delivery of locally generated energy in Kenya’s Kisii province, where over 90% percent of the population does not have access to electricity. With plans to expand its coverage to over 200,000 households in Kenya, Powerhive leveraged the pilot projects to test and refine its range of solutions, designed to enable microgrid deployments in rural regions. Through the pilot program, First Solar’s advanced module technology was deployed with Powerhive’s innovative metering and control platform, and its customers are currently able to pre-purchase electricity for commercial and residential use through mobile banking services.
“Powerhive’s technology and data-driven approach to microgrid development and operations will enable the formation of a new asset class. It will enable us to cost-effectively reach tens of millions of people in rural villages unserved by grids while offering strong risk-weighted returns to investors,” said Powerhive CEO Christopher Hornor. “We have uniquely combined the most cost efficient methods for billing, operations, customer service, and development at scale while respecting the local customs within the areas where we operate.”
Powerhive has developed a series of innovations designed to enable microgrid deployments in rural regions. Its portfolio includes the Honeycomb cloud-based remote monitoring and control platform, the Asali smart meter and the Site Wizard for Analysis, Reconnaissance, and Mapping (SWARM) project development tool.
Four pilot deployments have been operational for over two years, constituting a total generation capacity of 80kW and serving four rural villages, benefitting over 1500 people, ranging from residential users to small businesses deploying a range of services that were previously unavailable such as maize milling, welding, incubating chickens, and hair salons.
Source: Microgrids news