Capital FM (Nairobi)

Kenya: U.S Solar Firm Eyes Kenyan Market

Nairobi — US based solar energy solutions firm Magic Bridge Energy has announced plans to set up shops in Kenya and invest solar power systems in schools and hospitals.

The company plans to introduce solar power solutions to 200 schools and hospitals in the next three months.

Magic Bridge Energy Kenya CEO Cleopa Omondi says the firm will be introducing the world's first solar power Mini-Inverter dubbed 'CyboInverter' in the market which he says has more strength than the usual solar power inverters.

"For hospitals we want this solar system to work as a backup system. When the off, solar energy is there and is free and could be used without interruptions. For schools we wanted to enhance the off-grid connections so that school going children could read for long hours at night," Omondi told Capital Business.

Omondi says the local office to be based in Nairobi targets to also work with other development partners to seek funding and first focus on the areas without electricity. He says a single system could cost up to Sh200,000.

"I will be writing proposals for funding because those schools and hospitals off the main grid are the most in need yet the system could not be that affordable to them."

Cleopa Omondi is a neurosurgeon currently working at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Centre in the US and for him, working partly at Magic Bridge Energy is his "way of giving back to the community."

"I come to Kenya many times and I usually volunteer in hospitals. This is home. But I have had an experience where I had to stop a surgery process due to power outage. That is why I decided to work with Magic Bridge Energy and help bring these high class systems here. It is not a good experience to stop surgery due to power," he says.

The firm later plans to move to Botswana, Tanzania, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Burundi.

This comes at a time when the Kenya government is planning to install solar energy system to primary schools without power connection, to facilitate smooth implementation of the first ever laptop project. "We want to leverage on this and ensure that we play apart."

According to the World Bank over 6 million Kenyans are expected to be using solar power by the end of 2015 due to the drop cost of solar systems in the last three years.

Currently 5 out of 8 million households in Kenya are not connected to the national electricity grid.

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