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Saturday, 21 June 2014

Group benefits from solar powered lighting system

By Bob Aston
Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group has benefited from a donation of 15 solar powered lighting systems from Tree Is Life Trust (TILT), which delivered the systems on June 19, 2014. The group which is based in Matwiku area of Ng’arua Division, Laikipia County is now set to stop buying kerosene for lighting.
Members being shown how the solar lighting system works
Peter Gicheru, Secretary, Matwiku Horticulture Growers Self Help Group could not contain his joy during the handover ceremony. He said that buying kerosene for lighting has been expensive but this will now be a thing of the past.
“This place does not have electricity so we had no choice but to buy kerosene. The solar powered lighting system will help reduce dependence on kerosene and this will enable the members to save money that they would initially have used to buy kerosene,” said Mr. Gicheru.
Mr. Gicheru said that when they were informed by Tree Is Life Trust that they will be given 15 solar powered lighting systems they decided to contribute to buy seven (7) more as they are 21 members.
Each of the system costs Ksh 4,000. Each member had to contribute Ksh 1,150 to purchase the remaining seven.
“Kerosene lamps produce a lot of smoke and normally cause health problems. Our children have been complaining about them when reading using them at night, “said Mr. Gicheru.
He said that the system is easy to install and has a phone charger thus his frequent visits to Matwiku centre to charge his phone will now be a thing of the past.
Handover ceremony of the solar powered lighting lamps
Mr. George Kamau from Tree Is Life Trust said that the project has been made possible through funding from Act! Change! Transform! (ACT). He said they are identifying groups that they can work with in renewable energy.
He said that they decided to donate 15 SunEngine Solar System to the group in order to see the long term benefit of the lighting system. He added that they will be doing an evaluation to see the number of people who are now interested in the lighting system.
“The solar powered lighting system has a long lasting non replaceable light source. It also has a deep discharge protection circuit to increase battery light,” said Mr. Kamau.
A vibrant solar energy market has developed in the country over the years for lighting homes. Currently Kenya is leading in number of solar powered systems installed per capita.
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