Solar micro-grids place Kenya on “tech bypass”

Feb 28, 2017, 4:37 AM EST
(Source: Power Africa/flickr)
(Source: Power Africa/flickr)

The remote towns and villages in Kenya, where electrical grids and land-line telephones of the 20th century remained alien until now, are witnessing an intriguing “technological bypass” due to the efforts of a British-Kenyan startup company SteamaCo.

The firm is setting up small, self-sustaining solar microgrids in rural parts of the country and collecting payments via mobile banking platforms, like PayPal and M-Pesa, a model of providing clean energy that is yet to arrive in many parts of the developed world, notes Seeker.

This initiative of powering up Kenya with the help of mobile phones has bolstered the local economy as well, with people starting small businesses like barber shops, video shows, welding workshops and others.

The model taps Kenya’s abundant sunshine, relies on telecom networks for doing business and involves no cash exchange, which makes it convenient for all the parties, writes Reuters. The initiative has already churned out small profits, encouraging the startup to scale up the business.