Kenya’s Rural Electrification Authority (REA) in partnership with water and energy solutions provider Davis and Shirtliff has completed a Sh58m project, installing solar systems in 33 public primary schools in Tana River and Lamu counties.
Over 6,000 students in the two coastal counties would significantly gain access to electricity as the government moves to equip public primary schools across the country with laptops.
The partnership is part of National Primary School Electrification project initiated in 2013, whose overall aim is the integration of ICT in the curriculum delivery to expand digital skills, as enshrined in the government’s agenda- to connect 21,158 public schools to electricity, according to the Ministry of Energy.
Installations to these counties targeted all primary schools that were more than five kilometers from the grid and could only be powered effectively through the use of solar modules.
“As not all schools are close enough to the power grid to pull electricity, there was a need for an alternative and lasting solution. Our partnership with Davis and Shirtliff resulted from the need to power the schools that are off-grid in Tana River and Lamu counties,” said REA Project Supervisor for the two projects, Semeka Ong’ong’a.
Atotal of 18 schools in Tana River County and 15 in Lamu County, were fitted with 14 solar panels and 10 batteries to power three classrooms, one computer classroom, the staffroom and the head teacher’s office.
“We have installed the best-in-class solar equipment that will serve the schools for many years to come. The equipment comes with a warranty of 25 years and we will be maintaining it for a year to ensure that it is working at its optimum capacity,” said Norman Chege, the Solar Division Manager at Davis and Shirtliff.
Immediately after the commissioning of the project, the schools have seen an increase in the number of students staying in class in the evenings to tackle their assignments.
Initially, students would complete their assignments in dimly lit homes, which pose a danger to their eyesight.
The schools are also recording an increase in attendance for their adult education programmes, which are carried out in the evening after the regular school day comes to an end.