Energy 4 Impact campaign to raise funds on GlobalGiving

Energy 4 Impact has launched its first crowdfunding campaign on GlobalGiving to raise $5,000 in 3 weeks starting from 10th June 2019. The campaign is built around the Powering Villages project idea, which aims to provide access to clean energy in 20 of the poorest villages in the least developed areas in Kenya and Tanzania over the next 3 years.

This means light, power and clean cooking to households; reliable electricity and cold storage to schools and health clinics; solar-powered water pumps for safe drinking water and crop irrigation. Whereas a typical Energy 4 Impact project has been to do the same things across many locations, in this project we are aiming to do lots of things in one place.

The benefits would be tangible and translate into better quality of life for 60,000 people, more business for enterprises, better incomes for farmers, and better service provision by institutions like schools and health clinics. Obviously more than this $5K will be needed to make that happen, this is just a starting point.

Crowdfunding is all about raising small amounts of money from many people. Therefore, Energy 4 Impact would be very grateful if you could help raise funds throughout the duration of the campaign: from Monday, June 10, 2019 (9:00 a.m. ET) to Friday, June 28, 2019 (11:59 p.m. ET).

Here is the link to the campaign:

Donors based in Kenya can use their M-Pesa accounts to donate through M-Changa. Here are the instructions:


Trends in productive end-uses of electricity, PUE

Productive use of electricity or productive end-uses of electricity (PUE) were buzzwords in the energy access sub-sector even ten years ago. While working at TaTEDO I was involved in building “Sustainable Energy and Enterprises Centres” (SEECE) and Multifunctional Platforms (MFPs). SEECE is a 1 or 2 containers housing different enterprises that are powered by solar PV such as phone charging, juice processing, butchery, barber shop, hair salon, tailoring, computer and secretarial services. In 2010 I wrote an article about SEECE as a potential driver for new market for solar PV in Tanzania which was looking at potential increase in the demand for solar panels from PUE applications.

MFP comprise of a diesel/biofuel powered engine that is connected to machines such as maize mill, dehusker and oil extractor as well as a generator for electricity production. Most of the MFP were of 9kW to 25kW capacity and could be connected to an electricity distribution network sufficient to power 100 to 200 households in rural areas.

PUE is even more important today for both energy access and stimulating rural economic development and improving viability of rural electrification projects on-grid and off-grid.  As a basic principle though, success of PUE activities depends the presence of demand for the products offered, just like in any other business; investments in PUE should generate profits in order for it to be successful and sustainable.

There has been noticeable improvements over the years which have greatly enhanced PUE in newly electrified areas, among them being

  • the price of solar panels is much lower now, the PV Magazine reported that the current prices are in the $0.27-$0.37 per Watt range reduced from about $3.4/Wp in 2007. This reduction in price has lowered the costs of electricity generation using solar PV since the cost of panels usually makes approximately 50% of the total cost of the solar power generation plant.
  • Improved technology to monitor energy generation, consumption, billing and collection of payments from end users in energy facilities such as electricity mini-grids
  • Increased support to entrepreneurship and business development by organizations such as Energy 4 Impact and TaTEDO facilitated by improvements in road infrastructure, communications, incomes and ease of flow of money from urban to rural areas and vice versa through mobile money.

The major challenges facing the PUE entrepreneurs are high tariff of electricity, especially to those connected to isolated mini-grids, access to suitable appliances/equipment and smaller markets for their products in rural areas. A project supporting production of a new and/or high value products such as packed maize flour and timber should also include facilitating access to distant markets outside the villages in order to make the project successful. On the other end, the mini-grid operators and other players in the market can facilitate to access efficient, affordable and reliable appliances and equipment extending distribution chains of appliances, aftersales and financing services beyond large towns.

More and more energy generation and distribution companies such as mini-grid owners and operators are likely invest in PUE assets themselves to benefit from the potential business opportunities in the target markets. The energy companies intending to do this should have expertise and capital to invest and operate other businesses different from generation and selling of electricity.

LED scale indicators on Sunking Home 60

I am very pleased with our Sunking Home 60, 2 years after we started using it. I completed repayments sometime back in 2018 and now 100% owner of the system.

Today I would like to talk about our experience with the two LED indicators on the “Energy Hub” that we found to be very useful in this product.


On the left hand side of the Hub is the LED scale to indicate strength of sunshine on the surface of the solar panel. In order to achieve fast charging the indicator should be on the topmost position, bar no 5 from the bottom. This is what guides us in placing the solar panel every time we want to charge the Hub. Everyone at home knows the spots in house where the panel can receive the maximum sunshine. This product design allows user to move the panel to different locations in the house, thanks to the 5 meters long cable connecting the solar panel and the Hub and the possibility to move the Hub if disconnected from the loads i.e. the lights and others that have been connected on the 12V DC outputs. With this meter we can avoid mistakes of placing the panel where there is no enough sunshine which is the main cause of slow charging of the Hub.

On the right hand side is the battery charge which indicates the amount of energy available in the battery. At full charge capacity, top most level, this Hub keeps 6,000 mAh of energy.

20190210_164958The two intuitive meters are very useful to avoid users mistakes and maximize performance of the system and increasing users satisfaction. With the meters it means we can avoid slow charging as a result of wrong placement of the solar panel and over-discharging battery in the Hub. These are the most common problems that causes users dissatisfaction from my experience of using many solar lanterns and home systems.

In addition to the Sunking Home 60, we also have a collection of other solar lanterns and radios that I purchased for use and others that I received for reviewing.


Apart from the direct benefits of good quality light, phone charging and radio, my daughter (10 years) and son (8) can confidently explain how solar technology works which I think is a wealthy of knowledge as they grow and getting to know more about renewable energy and its importance in our lives.