Alternative Energy

Solar Water Solutions to provide clean water in Kenya

21st December 2020
Alex Lynn

A Dutch based blended finance manager Climate Fund Managers (CFM) has agreed to co-finance and co-develop the installation of up to 200 desalination units in Kitui County, Kenya. The systems are based on an innovation by Solar Water Solutions, a Finnish water technology company that has solved how to make clean water with solar power, with the lowest energy consumption in the market.

The parties now start piloting a project that eventually aims to provide clean water made of brackish ground water for 400 000 Kenyans by 2023. The total funding opportunity is estimated to be up to $15 million.

“We are very pleased with the initiative that will bring very clean drinking water to the rural population in Kitui County that needs it most. It is the most exciting project I have been part of in all my career,” said Emmanuel Kisangau, Minister of Water in Kitui County.

The units consist of a container that houses the technology, solar panels, and a ‘water ATM’ which allows people to buy high-quality water with mobile payments.

Tarun Brahma, Head of Investments at Climate Fund Managers, stated: “This initiative covers a key component of CI2’s investment mandate: supplying safe drinking water with renewable energy to people that currently do not have access. We are excited to partner with Solar Water Solutions and the Kitui Government to develop this opportunity and combine safe drinking water supply with a 100 percent renewable energy solution.”

The new technology enables the desalination system to operate without connecting to the grid or using a set of expensive battery bank to store energy. Also, running costs are close to zero thanks to solar power.

Antti Pohjola, CEO of Solar Water Solutions, said: “Through this partnership with CFM and locally with Kitui County and Epicenter Africa, we can together revolutionise access to safe affordable water in rural Kenya. This project marks a breakthrough in solar-powered water infrastructure. It wouldn’t have happened without the four key elements: A sustainable technology that brings down the cost of clean water, access to finance with a leading institutional investor, local partners and a market-based business model.”

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