Solar Power To Light Up Laikipias Dark Streets

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Laikipia is betting big on solar power to save resources, lengthen business hours for local traders and to firm up security in its urban centres.
The county is investing Kshs 46 million in off grid solar power to light up the streets of its towns which are more economical than electricity from the national grid.
Due to its position at the Equator Laikipia has massive opportunity for quality solar energy all the year round. There have been little, if any, efforts from the government and the private sector in the past to invest in the renewable energy sector.
However the shift by the county government is coinciding with another investment by a private firm which is setting up a 40-megawatt solar power station in Rumuruti. The shift by Laikipia is expected to save the county government millions of shilling that it has been paying in form of electricity bills.
For instance, the cost of installing a single high-mast flood light alone averages Kshs 3.5 million.
On average it takes a bill of Kshs10,000 per month to power a single high-mast flood light. Considering that the county has in-stalled a total of 32 high-mast flood lights across the county, the maintenance cost be-comes unsustainable.
This coupled with the susceptibility to frequent damages makes this mode of lighting untenable. The county government will gradually to phase out this expensive electricity from the national grid and direct the saved resources to other projects.
The solar power street lighting project, whose roll out started in July, will see the delivery 216 street lights poles across all the 15 wards of Laikipia County by mid-August, 2020. Residents have welcomed the idea of having a sustainable to light up the streets.
Each war will receive 12 poles except Umande, Igwamiti and Marmanet ward which will receive 24 each. A pole is fitted with a panel and a light to operate independently to improve efficiency.
This innovative venture is expected to dramatically lower the cost of lighting up the streets. This approach will enhance longer business hours for traders as well as improve security of the Laikipias urban centres as a key step in realizing a 24-hour economy.

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