Solar energy is now going to be harnessed in Africa thanks to a new alliance between Kenya and China to develop a whole range of solar products that will be utilized for the purpose. The joint research project is mainly going to focus on ways of adapting solar panels made for China to the requirements of the Kenyan conditions. The partners from the two sides include an electronic technology company from Kenya and the Natural Energy Resource Research Institute, Gansu in China.
The joint research program has already been approved by the Chinese government and a sum of $386,000 has been allocated for the purpose. Likely to continue till 2012, the project would require the setting up of an office of the Institute in Kenya and some key researchers posted there.
Kenya being a hot country stands to benefit by tapping the vast amount of solar energy available. Till now it has been using electricity generated by using hydropower and oil that is primarily imported. It has a large rural population that is still dependent on wood and coal for cooking and heating purposes. The use of solar energy to meet its energy requirements would transform the power sector completely and the savings made this way could be put in use for other developmental projects that need to be implemented urgently.
The Natural Energy Research Institute is located in Western China and since the time it was set up in 1978, it has trained 500 people in the field of solar technology for Africa. The personnel also include 12 people for Kenya. China is a world leader in the manufacture of solar heaters, and by passing on the technical expertise to Kenya, would be helping the poor nation in a big way.
Once completed the solar energy project would light up schools and homes, health facilities and tourism destinations and help all those who still need to burn lamps in the dark of the night. The renewable solar energy is likely to have a large initial expense but once systems are put in place the solar energy would be harnessed free of cost.
Source : China Africa