1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Powering Kenya's flower farms with the sun

March 23, 2021

High electricity costs pose a problem for businesses in Kenya. But a German startup wants to help them make the switch to affordable clean energy with crowd-funded solar modules.

A woman in a hat stands in front of a solar panel 
Image: George Kinyanjui/DW

Using solar power for Kenyan flowers

Grace Nyachae runs a fair-trade flower farm called "Simbi Roses" in Kenya and exports roses all over the world. It's an energy-intensive business, and Nyachae needs a cheap and reliable source of power. That's often a problem in Kenya though, where power costs are high and electricity blackouts are not uncommon.

In a country with lots of sunshine hours, solar energy could provide a real alternative. But businesses are often unable to afford expensive photovoltaic systems. German startup Ecoligo is trying to change that by financing solar modules through a crowdfunding model. Investors contribute toward the systems and get interest in return.

Local companies then receive a solar unit that is ready for use and pay a monthly fee for the electricity until the system is paid off.

For the past year, Nyachae has been paying Ecoligo each month for her solar module. It's about 25% less than what she once paid for electricity. Business owners Gordon and Stuart Millar have also switched to solar power on their flower farm with the help of Ecoligo. They've installed a floating solar system, the first of its kind in Kenya.

Project goal: Promoting private investment in green technologies to help build climate-friendly economies in emerging and developing countries.

Project implementation: Transferring green technology to local partners, as well as developing the resources and skills to use the tech. Nineteen projects in developing countries across four continents are being funded. Ecoligo is one of the companies investing in renewable energies and participating in the project in Kenya.

Implementing partner: German Investment and Development Corporation (DEG).

Budget: Nearly €5 million ($5.9 million) from the German Environment Ministry within the framework of its International Climate Initiative (IKI).

Project duration: June 2017 to September 2022.

A film by Julia Mielke and Thuku Kariuki