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Kenya’s flowers bloom through solar powered farms

Solar power has proven to be the solution needed by flower farmers in Kenya to support their energy-intensive businesses. These projects including Kenya’s first floating solar power plant are in line with the Kenyan government’s aim to use sustainable sources of electricity, especially in rural areas.

Grace Nyachae who runs a fair-trade flower farm called Simbi Roses in Kenya, exports roses all over the world. It’s an energy-intensive business, and Nyachae needs a cheap and reliable source of power. That’s often a problem in Kenya though, where power costs are high and electricity blackouts are not uncommon.

In a country with lots of sunshine hours, solar energy could provide a real alternative. But businesses are often unable to afford expensive photovoltaic systems. German startup Ecoligo is trying to change that by financing solar modules through a crowdfunding model. Investors contribute toward the systems and get interest in return. Unlike traditional financing models, the crowdfunding model is both fast and flexible in delivering systems to those in need.

Solar-powered farms pay in installments

Local companies then receive a solar unit that is ready for use and pays a monthly fee for the electricity until the system is paid off. For the past year, Nyachae has been paying Ecoligo each month for her solar module. It’s about 25% less than what she once paid for electricity. In five years’ time, Nyachae will have fully paid off her system and will only pay towards maintenance thereafter.

Business owners Gordon and Stuart Millar have also switched to solar power on their flower farm with the help of Ecoligo. They’ve installed a floating solar system, the first of its kind in Kenya.

[ESI Africa]

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