Simon Mwacharo is a Nairobi entrepreneur whose firm, CraftSkills, aims to make a thriving business out of building renewable energy projects in sub-saharan Africa. AfriGadget interviews him, finding out what it took to bring power to homes–such as his own–which had not had electricity for years.
"I was inspired by a challenge from my rural home where we have not had power for the last 40 plus years since [Kenya’s] independence [in 1963]. I come from a hill side village in Sagalla, Taita Hills in Coast Province where we receive quite some strong wind from the Nyika Plateau. This wind passes through without being tapped and sometimes our roofs can not stand in its way."
Solar is, in Africa as in the west, mostly impractical. But wind, like sunlight, is "everywhere," providing a natural, inexhaustible supply of energy. Among the most interesting of CraftSkills' installations is the one at Chifiri, which uses a turbine's power to run a pump, which filters 422 liters of water an hour from a brackish pond that is the only source of water for 500 villagers.