UON Launch Solar Rooftop Project at Chiromo Campus

The official commissioning of the solar rooftop project was held on Tuesday, 4th April 2023 at Chiromo campus. The solar lighting project will provide a reliable, affordable, and sustainable power supply in Chiromo campus.

The lack of access to electricity imposes major constraints on modern economic activities of the university, partnerships with industry, and the provision of public services, the adoption of new technologies, and the quality of student life.

The University of Nairobi therefore undertook to partner with China State Grid and LongiSolar (world leading solar technology company) to design the Chiromo Rooftop Solar photovoltaic system to supply the energy needs of Faculty of Science and Technology

The main purpose of this pilot project is to develop a prediction method for the use of solar energy for running university programs and for commercial purposes.

The momentous occasion was graced by Mr. Zhang Yijun- Minister Counsellor, Chinese Embassy who started by acknowledging UoN as best institution in the East African region.

He noted clean energy is part of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) since 2015 with goal number 7 emphasizing on access to reliable and sustainable energy for all by 2030; and Investment in energy infrastructure and independence is vital to the economic growth of the University of Nairobi.  The minister also noted Kenya has a huge potential on renewable energy which is the least expensive option in boosting electricity access, cutting carbon emissions and efficiently increasing electricity output worldwide

He concluded by saying ‘’I believe the installation of this project will not only light up the classrooms and campus but will also illuminate the lives, dreams and aspirations of the students’’.

The Vice Chancellor Prof. Kiama noted on the need to develop a complete ecosystem of value chain on the issue of harvesting energy. He also said it is the high time we also think in the direction of harvesting water from the air because with energy we have moved to such directions. He concluded by noted the university has been working closely with the Chinese Government and the university has benefit from support in projects like Confucius institute and the Chinese ambassador scholarship given every year to support the needy students.

Dr. Zhang Zhiang- Regional Manager, State Grid noted it was an honor to be part of the donor and implementer to design and install the solar energy at chiromo. ‘’This initiative has been a collaborative effort between China State Grid LongiSolar and UON who worked tirelessly to make this project become a reality’’. The system consist high quality panels that can produce electricity from the sun energy and can be monitored real time on mobile devices. By harnessing this renewable energy the university can significantly reduce the carbon footprints. ‘’This project is not just about clean energy it is a demonstration inspiration to the students that the science and technology they are learning today can lead to concrete results tomorrow’’. Dr. Zhang concluded

Mr. Ryang Wang- General Manager, LONGISolar Africa acknowledged Africa has best sunlight resources and LONGI realized energy transformation is extremely urgent and universities is a good place to start so that we can also provide our expertise to the students who are interested in renewable energy. ‘’We are bridging the gap to access and provide to light, clean, sustainable and affordable energy to all’’. He said

The Dean, Prof. Kerubo noted The Faculty is reaping the 1st fruits of an existing MoU between the University of Nairobi and Longi Solar. A donation of 20kW Rooftop Solar Power System worth USD 20,000 has been installed on the roof of the Department of Biochemistry. She further noted the faculty has extended the conversation with Longi Solar Africa, to extend their generosity to expand the installation to the other seven departments in the Faculty so that the whole of Chiromo campus can be lit by Longi Solar power.

The Rooftop Solar project at Chiromo will offer, among other benefits:

Capacity building on solar energy by offering training opportunities for both undergraduate, postgraduate students and technologists through the Faculty’s Solar Academy program;

It will offer consultancy services in the same field and industrial attachments to our students in their companies;

The project will allow UoN to test the extent to which the Rooftop Solarization concept is useful in understanding and conceptualising how lighting the university can transform the solar market for Kenya;

The project will presents an opportunity to carry out an analysis of energy needs that the university may not be aware of; and

The project will enable the university to know which approach it should undertake in providing a framework for future policy interventions aiming to transform access to clean energy technologies.