How a Regional SMA Training Center is Imparting PV Knowledge in EA
Small- and medium-sized grid-tied renewable energy systems have recently created interesting investment opportunities in Kenya. Electricity tariffs ranged from 0.14 US$/kWh for large industrial consumers to 0.226 US$/kWh for normal household consumers in December 2014. As the market segment solar PV grows, the main question for both utility companies and investors is the possibilities of reducing cost of power production and its maintenance.
To face these challenges, Strathmore Energy Research Center (SERC) at Strathmore University, launched a training academy in cooperation with SMA. In June 2015, the first hosted Solar Academy in East Africa began training engineers from different parts in fuel-saving technology, providing expertise and advanced training tailored to participants on SMA solutions.
Kenya is a power hungry country, but access to electricity is very low, said SERC Director Professor Izael Da Silva. There are two main barriers to the uptake of modern types of energy: the standard of quality of energy products and capacity building. By setting up the East Africa SMA Training Academy, we have managed to address both problems. On the one hand, SMA products are of long-lasting quality, while on the other, the Academy is fully furnished in terms of equipment and trained personnel to provide technicians and engineers with state-of-the-art knowledge on solar grid-tie, hybrid solar/diesel and off-grid systems. We are now able to respond to the needs of Kenyans irrespective of their geographical position and power requirements.
The first training sessions took place during the German Solar Training Week organized by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and AHK in November 2015 at Strathmore.
The practical session included a visit to SERC and a look at the different SMA inverters. Engineer Evan Kimani explains how they work.
To read more on the training click here.