Kenya: ideal conditions for solar installations

Kenya: ideal conditions for solar installations

Carrying out a routine inspection of the ground-level solar installation at Central University23 marzo 2023

In early 2022, Oikocredit invested € 5 million in renewable energy company ecoligo, which operates in emerging markets worldwide from its headquarters in Berlin. Oikocredit recently spoke with Claudia Rothe, ecoligo’s Head of Fundraising, about the solar specialists’ work, especially in Kenya. [1]

ecoligo was founded in 2016 by Martin Baart and Markus Schwaninger, who had both worked in Ghana and Kenya. After experiencing that lack of financing is the main obstacle to realising renewable energy ventures in low-income countries, Martin and Markus started ecoligo with the vision of accelerating the energy transition in the Global South.

Oikocredit is funding ecoligo’s work in both Ghana and Kenya. Support from impact investors such as our cooperative is crucial for ecoligo’s project implementation plans, according to Claudia Rothe, the company’s Head of Fundraising:

“With Oikocredit’s investment, we can realise key projects more quickly. For example, Oikocredit’s financing will help us complete a major solar energy installation for Fresha, a Kenyan dairy brands enterprise that processes the milk of more than 24,000 smallholder farmers. By installing large solar panels such as these, we can achieve particularly high CO2 savings.”

 As well as arranging financing, including through crowdfunding, ecoligo manages the construction, operation and maintenance of its commercial and industrial solar systems, taking responsibility for every step.

Ideal conditions

“The geographical conditions for the use of solar energy are ideal in Africa,” Claudia Rothe says. “And in Kenya the solar industry is especially well developed. You can find suitable construction partners there, as well as many potential business customers from different sectors. And because electricity costs are high, switching to solar is worthwhile for our customers from day one. For these reasons, Kenya is very interesting for us.”

Currently, ecoligo has 194 projects in operation. Besides Ghana in West Africa and Kenya and Uganda in East Africa, the company is also active in Chile, Costa Rica, Nigeria, Panama and the Philippines.

Through its “solar-as-a-service” solution, ecoligo provides customer enterprises with a complete development, financing, construction, operation and maintenance package. Customers pay monthly fees and thus over time become owners of their solar system. ecoligo uses only durable and robust components and adheres to international construction standards.

Claudia Rothe: “Our employees develop each system on site based on the customer's electricity consumption data. In the process, we also validate the customer's creditworthiness and take a close look at the company. Only then do we conclude a contract. We require our construction partners to meet our knowledge, licensing, safety, and occupational health and safety standards.”

ecoligo finances most of its projects through crowd investing, thereby offering private investors impact-oriented investment opportunities. Via the ecoligo invest platform, people with as little as € 100 to invest can support energy transition projects in countries like Kenya.

Kenya's first floating solar plant

Claudia Rothe tells us that the Kenyan flower industry has played an important part in ecoligo’s story:

“Flower farms were ecoligo’s first customers, and we associate a special success story with Rift Valley Roses. This flower farm implemented its first solar installation with us in 2018. Two years later, when Rift Valley Roses needed more solar power, we built Kenya's first floating solar plant, installing it on the farm’s water reservoir. This floating solar installation makes good use of the available area and reduces water evaporation by covering much of the reservoir’s surface.”

[1] Interview with Claudia Rothe by Ute Stefanie Haak; original German-language article by Ute Stefanie Haak and Beate Hermann-Then.


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