Two new EnDev reports have been launched on the status of the market for productive uses of solar energy in Kenya and a policy action plan to progress the productive use of energy. SNV has played a leading role in the development of these new reports.
Productive Use of Energy (PUE)
The Energising Development (EnDev) programme recognises the positive impact of the productive use of solar energy (PUE) on solar companies and their customers. In cooperation with the Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA) PUE Working Group (WG), SNV, as part of EnDev Kenya, commissioned this market study to give stakeholders an up-to-date view of the space and recommendations to support its growth.
Off-grid solar has grown rapidly over the last decade. To date, the space has mainly focused on powering household lighting and appliances to meet consumption-related energy needs. Productive use of solar energy (PUE) presents a new frontier in providing income-generating/enhancing opportunities for off-grid enterprises. PUE refers to two main areas:
- an agribusiness context including processing, milling, drying, solar water pumps and irrigation, refrigeration and larger cooling systems,
- adding additional appliances/ equipment to the current solar home systems that generate revenue, including “businesses-in-a-box” such as shavers, audio and TV systems, phone charging stations, market/store lighting, etc.
The EnDev programme defines Productive Use of Energy (PUE) as the use of energy that increases income and productivity.
EnDev’s ecosystem approach to PUE acknowledges the importance of multi-disciplinary and cross-sectoral coordination, as well as an understanding of end-user insights. The study involved using the ‘value chain/market systems’ framework to understand the dynamics in the Kenyan PUE space. Value chain analysis emphasises a systems perspective, the role of governance and relationships, targeting leverage points to address obstacles, and empowering the private sector. The broader market systems lens acknowledges that the PUE value chains operate within a complex context of parallel and intersecting value chains, sociocultural forces and more.
This report mapped the vibrant network of 100 companies and broader PUE ecosystem actors in Kenya. These companies are supplying 40+ types of solar appliances to customers across the socioeconomic spectrum – and could do so even more effectively and sustainably with strategic support from government, investors and the development community. The following three recommendations are presented to mobilise stakeholders.
- Convene stakeholders for an inter-ministerial, public-private dialogue.
- Address the consumer financing gap for component-based solar PUE systems.
- The PUE sector needs a cross-sectoral flagship programme for PUE on the model to support the sustainable growth of the off-grid solar market as a means of rapidly increasing energy access.