2013 ISES Solar World Congress Promotion of PV Uptake and Sector Growth in Kenya through Value Added Training in PV Sizing, Installation and Maintenance
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Sub-Saharan Africa, and more specifically the East African region, has the lowest rates of access to electricity in the world. On average, at most 15% of the rural population has access to electricity. Rural households and remote institutions use traditional energy sources such as charcoal, firewood, kerosene and diesel for generator sets, batteries and dry cell batteries. On the other hand, the region is one of the most promising in the world in economic development with growth levels being high and market saturation is a far away future problem. This growth has however been hampered by several factors with lack of energy being one of them. Kenya being one of the countries in the region faces a similar problem with the traditional sources of hydro facing weather related challenges. The situation is more wanting in the rural setting having only achieved electrification rates of between 5 and 10%. The rural being where the majority of low-income earning groups reside is further compounded with large geographical imbalance in electricity demand and supply. The main challenge to adopting pv utilization however, is lack of local capacity to handle the uptake all the way from solar home systems to grid connected and hybrid systems. According to Kenya Renewable Energy Association (KEREA), it is estimated that between 800 and 1000 pv technicians have been in practice since this sector started in Kenya in the late eighties, majority of them having the basic skills but no formal training to provide the service. They however have been offering necessary service to end-users and are hence an important aspect in the pv sector as a whole. Currently the pv (mainly SHS) comprise an over the counter trade system which provides loopholes when it comes to quality of products and installation. To safeguard the quality and safety of installations, formal training has to be incorporated in the system.