Kitonyoni Solar Mini-Grid Project


Project Overview

Kitonyoni is an off-grid rural market village in Makueni County, Kenya. The Energy for Development (e4D) Network worked closely with the villagers to determine their needs, aspirations and goals with respect to electrification and business. This activity is supported by the local and national government in Kenya.

To meet these requirements a business and community model was developed. e4D’s goals are to establish an economically sustainable approach, whereby the community contributes to the project and is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the plant. Income is generated for the cooperative through share ownership and local sales of electricity, which also finances capital cost.

Together, e4D engineers, local contractors and villagers were able to assemble the 13.5 kWp photovoltaic solar plant within one week in September 2012. The premise of the modular design is to make it easy to replicate and resize to each village’s requirements.

Benefits to the community

  • Up to 3000 local people can now benefit from electrical services. The school, health center and 50 businesses have round-the-clock stable electricity, allowing them to provide services such as food refrigeration, lighting and phone and battery charging facilities. The health centre and primary school have also both measured improved performance over the last 3 years.
  • Rechargeable LED lanterns are sold by the cooperative to individual households.
  • The solar plant is operated and maintained by the local cooperative, creating employment and providing economic revenue as well as social and humanitarian benefits to the local population.
  • Kitonyoni does not have a water supply. The solar canopy also acts as a rain collector during the rainy season. The collected water is stored for use throughout the year.
  • Over the lifetime of the Kitonyoni solar plant, land prices have increased, business income has increased, there has been an increased level of construction in the market as well as increased level of services offered to the community. There has also been a newly built maternity unit and staff quarters for the local health centre staff.
  • Read more about the first year of success of the project here.

Future projects …… replication

To bring the social, technical, economic and humanitarian benefits of this project to other villages, replication is key, and the team are working with Kenyan partners to make this happen. Energy for Development has already installed 5 additional projects in Cameroon, Kenya and Uganda with an installed capacity of 68.4kWp solar. The team has also designed a 60kWp off-grid solar project in northern Kenya, which will be one of the largest off-grid solar mini-grids in Kenya and is due for completion towards the end of 2015.

We are searching for partners willing to support future installations in this or other locations. If you are interested in our work or think your company, government or institution would be able to offer help or expertise, please contact us using our details on the left.

Solar Plant Local Contact Details

  • Makueni County Solar Energy Co-op Society Ltd, Kitonyoni Market, Kitonyoni Sub-location, Makueni County, Kenya

Click here for directions (pdf)

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Kitonyoni village showing clear impact and development from first 3 years of solar mini-grid opperation



Watch our time lapse video of the one week assembly and commissioning period: