SOSAED is committed to technical solutions that are best for supporting economic development given the resources available and the community’s interest. Thus the technical solution will be place-dependent and people-dependent. We are not planning to force a given technology to be the solution for every situation. Whatever the technology, it must be robust, affordable and available. Where possible we will source the technology locally (i.e., manufactured or distributed in Kenya).
East Africa has multiple sources of abundant energy – both renewable and non-renewable. Renewables include solar, wind and geothermal and we will undertake our first projects in semi-arid arid northwestern Kenya, where solar photovoltaic seems to be the best choice. There is also significant and reliable wind energy.
To meet the needs of a community around the clock with solar energy means storing excess energy produced during daylight hours for use at night. Storage batteries (Li-ion or Pb-acid) are well-tested in harsh climates and locally available. Other storage technologies are on the horizon and we will test these at TBI when they reach market-scale production and reliability.
Electric power provides the ability to use equipment for both production of goods and services and for quality of life. Lathes, sewing machines, refrigerators, water pumps, cell phones, radios and TVs are some of the equipment that impacts business output and transactions, education, healthcare and contact with the wider world.
For example, water is essential to human life and access to clean, safe water requires pumping and in many cases treatment for both biological and chemical contamination. Depending on locale, Northwestern Kenya has water; depending on locale it may be clean or contaminated and/or highly alkaline. Existing and new technologies for treatment will also have to meet the tests of robustness, affordability and availability. We also plan to test new technologies when at market scale.