The Kenyan government has shown support for off-grid, mini-grids and on-grid renewable projects through formulation of policies and strategies to encourage uptake of renewable energy as an option in the country’s energy mix. However, the contribution of many of the renewable energy sources to Kenya’s installed generation capacity has remained insignificant. The factors contributing to this slow uptake remains largely unknown.
The IREK project aims at generating evidence-based recommendations focusing on development of requisite skills and capabilities in Kenya that would enhance uptake of renewable energy technologies. To this end, a survey of stakeholders’ perceptions of the field was undertaken by the IREK researchers. A total of 91 policy-makers, energy professionals and academics from across the renewable energy sector in Kenya responded to the survey which focused on the role of collaborations and capabilities in diffusion of technologies in solar PV and wind energy in Kenya. Among other useful insights the survey highlights a few important issues that are relevant for policy and practice:
The government of Kenya, donors, private sector and research institutes are all important players in the possible growth of the two subsectors because they are engaged in or linked to training and capacity building, joint implementation of projects as well as research and development. The survey report therefore recommends strengthening or establishment of platforms for enhanced interaction amongst all stakeholders’ in the sector. This would enhance sharing knowledge and experiences as well as develop strategies on how to grow the two subsectors in Kenya.
Wind and solar projects provide an opportunity to build requisite capabilities in solar and wind equipment manufacturing as well as in operations and maintenance related to the two sub-sectors. Such capabilities are currently lacking or inadequate in Kenya. Further, stakeholders find that there is a tendency for reliance on foreign firms due to the lack of, or inadequate, capabilities and expertise available in Kenya. Another key barrier to building of competences and capacities across both wind and solar subsectors was perceived to be inadequate local training and education opportunities available at colleges and universities.
Against this basis, the survey report recommends the following: