Kenya’s Solar Industry, Discussing Its Challenges And Opportunities. With Over 80% Reliance On Renewable Energy For The National Grid, Kenya Demonstrates A Strong Commitment To Renewables – David Kariuki,  Managing Director, Metrocart Ltd

David Kariuki, Managing Director, Metrocart Ltd

Can you highlight some of the unique challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered while operating in Kenya’s Solar Industry?


with over 80% of the national grid being renewable, the renewable energy awareness across the country is relatively high, making rolling out renewable products easier in the Kenyan market. The high cost of National grid power also has pushed people to alternative sources and solar energy has come up on the top being for solar water heating, borehole pumping, backup solutions, hybrid and off-grid solutions. Some of the difficulties experienced include shifting government policies that have been unstable making the market unpredictable, low quality products especially decommissioned and dumped products especially from western markets, marketed as new products affecting efficiency and life span, which affects the market confidence and transfers the solar waste to the country

How does your company engage with local communities in Kenya to ensure that the benefits of solar technology reach those who need it the most?


A few government initiatives have had positive effects on the uptake of solar solutions in the country;

-The government’s drive to 100% green power on the National grid by 2030 has helped in creating awareness across the country. Without awareness, the conversion would remain a greater issue.

-Tax incentives including exemption on importation of some components unavailable locally

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-Legislative initiative requiring installation of solar water heaters for houses with more than 2 bedrooms, This has caused investors to add solar water heating in the construction budget as one of the requirements by buyers. Through these initiatives, new homeowners are buying houses already with solar installed further easing uptake.

In your experience, what role do you see the Kenyan people playing in driving the adoption of solar technology? Are there any notable success stories or examples of community involvement?

-Kenyan People/the market has started demanding quality products with enforceable warranties. There is a market pull for quality with the middle and high-end market becoming less price sensitive and more quality driven. This pull will eliminate naturally the poor quality products in the market making solar more reliable

-Nearly all manufacturers in the country (big power consumers) have adopted hybrid solar systems that enable them to lower their power bills by more than half. This lowers their cost of production and the many staff members who are working in the companies get to appreciate that the systems do work. Where we have installed solutions in companies and institutions, we have noted a spike in demand from the staff members for their homes within the first 2 years of commissioning.

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-Solar mini-grids have been developed on community levels to supply power to a village through their mostly through their elected representatives.

Can you share any innovative technological solutions or advancements your company has implemented to overcome specific challenges in the Kenyan market?

High initial capital outlay. This remains as the biggest hindrance to the adoption of solar solutions. to overcome this, Metrocart undertakes a thorough evaluation of the energy needs, starts by recommending saving actions like retrofitting of lower power consumers’ bulbs, compressors etc. With this, the client can save on running costs even before the adoption of solar, we then work with the client’s available funds and offer a modular system that can be grown over a period of time through savings generated. We also work with financiers to enable the clients to install the complete system for maximum savings without initial capital outlay, buy the power from us at a rate lower than what they would get from the National grid, and hand over the systems within the first quarter of the system life (build operate transfer model)

Through years of market engagement, we have learnt what components works best in our market and as such are able to have different reliable components from different suppliers making up one solution to a client and this has earned us a market reputation of reliable solutions.

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How do you navigate the regulatory landscape in Kenya, and what measures do you take to ensure compliance with local policies and regulations?

These local regulations start at sourcing, we ensure we source products that meets the quality and employ the services of a globally reputable organization for clearing and forwarding, outsourcing the work on tax compliance on this stage to those who specialize in it. All our technicians are locally accredited by EPRA( Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority), the regulating body and are re-assessed bi-annually for conformity. We also have metrocart ltd, accredited and reporting all sites installed to EPRA and inviting them in to have random checks to ensure conformity.

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