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Developing affordable Solar Nano grids for rural off grid small business hubs for communities in Laikipia East District, Kenya project.

The solar nano-grids will upgrade the community centers into small business hubs and diversify income streams for the local communities.

Photo of Charles mwangi
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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

The project aims at introducing solar nano-grids as affordable clean energy solution for off-grid small businesses and community centers located in ecologically fragile rangelands in Laikipia County, Kenya. The solar nano-grids will be used to upgrade the centers into small business hubs and to diversify income streams for the local communities by opening businesses on egg-incubation, battery swapping, cyber-cafes, barber shops, mobile phone charging, TV entertainment, posho mills etc. Under this project our organization will work with community stakeholders to install 2 nano-grids each with capacity of 10KW thus contributing a total of 20 Kilo Watts of solar electricity within the Laikipia East range lands. Each of the 2 centers will be connected to 10KW solar nano-grid. Majority of people living in Laikipia East district are poor and living in wildlife dispersal areas have continued to suffer huge losses resulting from cattle rustling and wildlife menace without adequate compensation. There is need for alternative economic activities such as Improved Kienyeji chicken rearing in Laikipia East District. There is no electricity connection to centers, small businesses and homesteads within the proposed action areas. The centers depend on diesel generators for supply of electricity, kerosene lamps and candles for lighting. Solar Nano-grids offer an alternative to dirty electricity generation solutions and opens a wide range of business opportunities for beneficiary communities in rural off-grid locations. The increased usage of solar supports environmental sustainability, mitigation and adaptation to climate change as follows: -Reduction in CO2 emissions. -Protection of environment is also key due to high rate of deforestation in the conservancies. -Enable extended hours of reading for school going children hence improve academic performance. -Enhance conservation landscapes by reducing exploitation of natural resources. -Improve food security

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

1. 2,000 low-income households have no connection to electricity and are willing to pay for battery swapping for their domestic usage and also benefit from the other wide range of businesses. 2. Entrepreneurs (250 Persons): It is envisaged that the following jobs will be created:- a) 30 Persons- these are male and female women who will be engaged in direct management of the solar hub businesses with at least 50% being women. b) 200 households will rear chickens to sell eggs/slaughter and indirectly employ another 100 persons. c) 4 Sales agents/brokers (30% of which are women) participating actively in the selling of the day old chicks. d) Chicken and egg marketing centers established and effectively producing and selling at least 15,000 mature chicken for slaughter and 85 000 eggs sold every year; 3. Final beneficiaries are the 2500 households in project areas who will receive all necessary information about solar nano-grids through the awareness raising campaigns.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

The project will use a rare combination of power consumption metering to increase affordability of solar nano-grids through rent-to-own model. After the client has completed payment of the solar battery and the convectional home wiring system, the client will own the battery and the wiring system. Each solar nano-grid hub has a lead-acid battery (LABs) charger with capacity to charge up to seventy five 40AH batteries every 8 hours plus a 25 reserve LABs which will be used to swap for customers who bring their batteries late. Community residents are currently travelling long distances to access similar services, the process would now be quicker, reliable and save much of their productive time. Many competitors businesses are far away in bigger towns’ establishments. The organization has a dedicated team of 5 full-time staff qualified in energy engineering, natural resources management, gender, business development, community development and financial management.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Prototype: I have done some small tests or experiments with prospective users to continue developing the idea.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Mamwaki Enterprise with a mission to facilitate the process of adoption of cleaner energy technology approaches through capacity building and applied research has been initiated into Solar-nano grids business following a market study undertaken by the founder (Charles) in year 2017. Mamwaki Enterprise is actually the commercialization stage and we are in the process of formally finalizing registration as a social enterprise. Currently the website is under construction

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we plan to register in the future.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

Charles has previously worked for clean energy projects and had built very good track record in motivating end-users to adopt clean energy products. The motivation was also from the increased potential of cleaner energy uptake due to increased awareness and interest in clean energy products by households, institutions, governments and the whole world and increased demand for the same. In this consideration, Charles has founded Mamwaki Enterprise to tap into these opportunities commercially.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Peace is influenced by the demand for pasture there has been continuous human-human and human-wildlife conflict resulting to death of humans, wildlife and livestock. The recent conflict in Laikipia is a complex web of violence that’s been a feature of the region as well as its neighboring counties for the last two decades. Prosperity has been impacted by the seasonal violence in Laikipia that can be attributed to a range of factors. These include its location and geography as well as the cynical manipulation of politicians. But the biggest factor is the contradictory attitudes held by farmers on the one hand and pastoralists on the other. The planet has been impacted by climate change and drought due to the changing grazing systems patterns among wildlife and livestock owned by the population have continued to exert more pressure on existing resources. This has now resulted to this dry weather condition being experienced and most surface water bodies are at the verge of drying off.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

1. County Government of Laikipia will play a technical role in strategic alliances, mainstreaming the project into the public sector, policy Influence, licensing, collaborations and community building. 2. Universities and Technical Institutions will play a role in research and development, product testing, transferring knowledge, codifying processes, sharing good practices, providing tools, training, support and quality assurance. 3. Social Enterprises, Solar accessories retailers and Local Community will play a role as business partners, brokering and managing partnerships, business networks, transferring knowledge, product awareness creations, marketing & promotion, and business referrals. 4. Non-governmental organizations, civil societies Organizations & private sectors will play a role in capacity Building, raising funds/investment, campaigning, lobbying and advocacy, developing organizational capacity and professional consultancies.

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

The project sites are accessible by road; residents are willing to purchase & use the solutions of the solar nano-grids because they are cost effective, available, conserve environment, are hygienic and perform well. The solar market is promising and customers are willing to purchase our products and solutions and of great importance the residents are also willing to test and scale the Unique Value Proposition (UVP) – the innovations in pioneering on rent-to-own model and added functionalities.

Geographic Focus

Laikipia East District in Laikipia County, Kenya

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

The project is designed to take 24 months with key activities being Contract signing; Project inception meetings; Project implementation plan and time-lines review & update; Project M&E framework review and update; Procure 2 solar nano-grids and micro-gasifier stoves; Install 2 Solar Nano grids (10 KW) in community centers, Train users on operation and maintenance; Train local technicians on operation and maintenance and Monitor and report monthly on effectiveness of the project.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Attachments (3)

Project Staff Profiles.pdf

Profiles for Key Project Staff.

Project Organization.pdf

This document explains how project activities will be organized, key organization staff and how the project will be monitored and evaluated.

Solar Nano Grid.pdf

The nano-grids move SHS beyond basic household supplies to meet community energy needs as well as independent household needs. This connects households to a centralized solar-hub offering charging & battery swapping services to address challenges of household lighting and mobile phone charging and as well power the hatcher or poultry incubator providing the residents with better improved indigenous day old chicks. The solar will also power barber shops, cyber and posho-mill businesses.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Federica Pardo

Hello Charles and Mamwaki Enterprise team,
I was reading through your Developing affordable Solar Nano grids for rural off grid small business hubs for communities in Laikipia East District, Kenya project. contribution and finding it very interesting! At United for Hope we are also strong believers in the many opportunities offered by solar energy and I am curious to learn a little more around how you use your solar powered devices for rearing? Is this idea coming from a necessity of your beneficiaries or has it been tested and proven effective results?
Also, do you plan on extending your solar electrification to the households of your area as well or is it just designed for business hubs?
Keep up the great work!

Photo of Charles mwangi

Thanks so much Federica for your comment!
I'm extremely excited with the work you are doing at United for Hope. Mamwaki will establish solar nanogrids in the communities areas. The solar nanogrids are microgrids that will power business hubs to empower majority of pastoral communities living in Laikipia East, Kenya. The business hubs include egg incubation for improved indigenous poultry. Our mission is to encourage these communities to do more of chicken rearing as opposed to cattle as a way in reducing intensive grazing, reduce human-wildlife conflict, reduce risk-incidences associated with cattle rustling. We will also offer battery charging services or battery swapping services to them with a rent to own model for use at their houses. The community are expected to the future to own the battery and the wiring system. We would love to extend the solar electrification to the houses but currently this requires major investments. This idea or project has been piloted and proven to be effective to these communities.