Kenyans Switch to Chinese-Made Solar Floodlights to Illuminate Their Homes.

Posted on :Friday , 8th December 2023

The world's biggest retail network of Chinese-imported electronics and electrical goods is located in Nyamakima, a shopping district in Nairobi, Kenya, where dealers from all over the country congregate.


Retailers here purchase goods in large quantities from China and resell them to other merchants. Bulk couriers deliver packages throughout the nation, especially to South Sudan and Uganda, which are nearby. But the thing that stands out the most in almost every solar floodlights store is prominently placed.


In a recent interview with Xinhua, Mohamed Yusuf, the proprietor of a store on Duruma Road in the Nyamakima neighbourhood, described the phenomenon.


"The market for solar floodlights has probably grown significantly in the last several years for two reasons. One is the increasing number of Kenyans who are developing new homes on 40 by 80-foot urban lots. Thus, they wish for those residences to have paths and well-lit compounds for improved security and better use of the limited area, according to Yusuf. One other factor is that solar floodlights are becoming more affordable. It would have cost $100 USD five years ago for a 200-watt solar lighting. Two years ago, it was only half that much. These days, a comparable one costs $30. Less powerful ones are now even more affordable."


Selling solar floodlights made by the Chinese business Itel is Yusuf's area of expertise. The Nyamakima retail area is home to numerous such brands. He reported that during the previous two years, sales of solar floodlights had climbed by 60% to 70%. "The product is moving quickly now," he stated.


Gerald Mutuma's contemporary home in Ruai Estate, a rapidly developing residential and commercial region roughly 20 km east of Nairobi's core business district, has three solar floodlights installed. "For his compound, one of my colleagues converted to solar floodlights. He told me to follow suit since they are more cost-effective to operate over time and provide a higher return on their investments than those that take electricity from the national grid. This is accurate, as I calculated that they had a return on their investments of less than a year," Mutuma stated.


He stated that the consumption of electricity for a single 200-watt floodlight powered by mains electricity is around a single unit per night, resulting in daily costs of 0.20 dollars or six dollars per month. That would come to roughly $72 over the course of a year. "However, I paid 30.4 dollars for all of these. That implies that in a year, I will have doubled the amount I spent on each piece. Nevertheless, the lifespan of this solar floodlight is three years or more. It is already covered by a one-year guarantee. Both my parents' house and my rural home should have the same installed. This is by far a better offer. These solar lights also last longer since they are weatherproof, which makes them useful even in areas where it rains a lot," as stated by Mutuma.


Solar floodlights are widely promoted in Kenya's e-commerce stores, on websites like Solar Store, Jiji, Mybigorder as well as from individuals selling through their social media profiles, suggesting that there is an increasing demand for them. Since there is more rivalry among these vendors, there is a noticeable decrease in prices and a rise in the number of brands available, which benefits consumers in the majority of cases.


The government and the commercial sector have also built large-scale off-grid solar lighting projects. To replace all of its diesel-powered off-grid power plants with mini-grid solar projects, Kenya Power released a tender in August.


As an alternative to mains electricity, several factories and shopping centres have also installed rooftop solar power producing panels. Many Kenyans are installing solar illumination systems offered by pay-as-you-go suppliers at the home level.


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