Solar Energy for Small and Medium Sized Households

Posted on 3 min read

Everyone is going solar. Some want to use renewable energy, others want green energy, some want to save the planet, others want to cut carbon emissions, and some simply think it is cool. If you want to join the bandwagon, I will tell you why you should, and why you should not, depending on your needs.

First, there are some very good news about solar energy (In this case, we are talking about Solar Photovoltaic, which involves converting solar energy to electrical energy. There are many other uses, such as solar water heater).

  1. The cost of solar power has gone down, and is on the downward trend. This means that it will keep getting cheaper in the future. Good news.
  2. The cost of storage is also going down, and storage technology keeps getting better. This is important because any meaningful solar installation requires storage.  You can guess why; the sun never shows up at night, and solar panels convert solar (sun’s) energy into electrical energy.
  3. You can now seamlessly switch between mains ac and solar power, meaning that you use solar power when it is available, and switch to mains electricity when necessary.

Who can use solar power?

Solar power is freely available, as long as you can see the sun. This means that if you have a roof, or some grounds available, you can mount solar panel. Any house owner or property owner can install solar panels, but if you are in a rented apartment things may not work good for you, unless if you are a friend to your landlord, or you are influential 😊.

Solar power can be used nearly in every part in Africa, as the sun is a friend to Africa. The Sunshine duration in Nairobi is 6.8 hours in Nairobi, 9.4 hours in Cairo, and 8.4 in Cape Town. In Kenya, the average sunshine duration is 6.9 hours, which means that we have the sun shining almost all throughout the year, with peaks in January. In short, everyone can board!


You need to have your priorities right. If your side hustle is welding steel gates in your house, or running a posho mill, you are not eligible. To put it more accurately, you can consider solar, but your investment will be in millions. Here we are addressing domestic consumers.

Hybrid Solar system diagram

Sample case

If your monthly power consumption is 55 units of electrical power, your electricity bill would be approximately KES 833 in Kenya, or KES 10,000 per year. This could be the following devices running in the house:

  • 100 Watt fridge running full-time
  • 30 Watt TV running for 4 hours per day
  • Two 10 W bulbs running for six hours per day
  • A laptop running for three hours per day
  • Three  15 Watt bulbs running for  4 hours per day

For the above, you would need to have at least a battery capacity of 230 Ah, a solar panel of 262 Watts, and an Inverter of about 300 Watts. This would cost about 75000, exclusive of installation costs. This means that it would take you about 10 years to recover your investment. Solar panels have a long usage life, up to 30 years, while for the battery, you might need to replace it at most every 7 years.

Solar Water Heater

I would want to mention a few things about solar waters heaters because they have one of the easiest application. One of the huge costs in small households is heating water, and adopting one can help reduce your electricity consumption significantly. Read about Solar water heaters in this article.


If you want to be influential, start blogging

Posted on 2 min read

‘If you want to hide something from an African, put it in the books,’ thus goes the old insult. However, there is some element of truth in the statement, considering the attitude some of us Africans have towards books, and especially when there is no exam attached to the reading.

I don’t believe that Africans are apathetic to gaining knowledge. There is an area where we excel very well; on telling stories and passing information by word of mouth. Most African cultures have great oral traditions and every tea break in the office, lecture break or even bus ride finds us listening to some stories, or even telling some. Vocal people are popular and end up in politics, and in small group setting, the talking guy is the spirit of the party.

However, as times change, so we should. Technology has changed the way we communicate and interact, and social media has taken a prime position as a means of communication. Our stories must now be told online, and this has been effected using social media. This is a good thing, and we must use social media to convey positive and relevant messages all the time. But social media has its limitations; it is perfect for one-liners, 140 characters, and pictures, and users detest anything that will keep them on these platforms for too long. We just want to have a glimpse of information. The other times when we need to read something in depth needs a different tool than social media. We want good written articles that we can read in fifteen to twenty minutes, and this is where good blogs and platforms like medium become necessary.

A number of people have made a fortune by writing blogs, but in this a few problems have also come up. The quality of content and the topics covered is always wanting. It is said that people who used to write on toilet walls when we were kids have now become bloggers – they only changed the platform but the content is the same. It is therefore important that responsible people also take up the challenge and populate the world wide web with good content that can help better the cause of humanity.

You do not need to be an expert in any field in order to influence people through writing. Your daily experience can inspire someone else, and your past experience can help mentor a younger person. Your daily struggles or successes with finances, health, friendships, leadership, career, faith, farming etc can be useful to someone else. We also need to document the our life experiences for the sake of others who come after us.

Start Writing