Powered by solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and distributed through a simple pay-as-you go model, it provides smallholder farmers and peri-urban communities with much-needed electricity.
Tree_Sea.mals – a reference to the ecosystems of trees, sea life and other animals – was established by Tracy Kimathi straight out of university. After completing an environmental science degree and interning at an energy company, the young graduate set her sights on developing products that harness the natural world to help people.
Today, her six-month-old pilot project stands in Meru, rural Kenya, where her parents and grandparents grew up. In the foothills of Mount Kenya, the equatorial region gets high levels of irradiation, and is ideal for solar PV. But connection to power grids is financially out of reach for the majority of Meru’s outlying village residents and other rural Africans. The Tree_Sea.mals Micro-grid is set to change that.
The weekly fee paid for her pilot mini-grid to power the home of a family of 12 is less than the family would pay to be connected to the national grid. The children have a reading room for the first time, cell phones used to run the farming business charge in the lounge, and lights extend the day in each room.
Kimathi’s next installation will incorporate a refrigeration system which can be rented out to the community for extra income, and help keep beef, milk, and even medicine, for longer.