HYBRID ENERGY KIOSK
A technology developed to support the UNIDO-Kenya Initiative of Rural Energy for
Productive Use In off-grid rural areas of Africa
OFFICE OF THE UNIDO REPRESENTATIVE FOR KENYA AND ERITREA
United Nations Office at Nairobi, Gigiri, P. O. Box 41609, 00100 GPO, Nairobi, Kenya
Telephone: (+254-20) 762 4369, 762 4370; Fax: (+254-20) 762 4368 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
HYBRID ENERGY KIOSK IN KIANG’OMBE
The Kiang’ombe Energy Kiosk is located in Kerugoya area which lies 150 km north east of Nairobi. This is an agriculturally productive
area that is located on the slopes of Mt. Kenya. The main economic activity in the area is small scale farming of tea, coffee, banana,
vegetables and other fruits.
The Kibae community always had the dream of using the local resource of stream water and a 12 m waterfall to produce energy. In
the year 2004, they initiated activities to make this a reality, and built a powerhouse and a temporary weir with a water intake
structure. They however did not have a hydro turbine. It is then that they approached the government’s Ministry of Energy. Early last
year, UNIDO was requested by the Ministry of Energy to assist this community by providing a hydro turbine.
At around the same time UNIDO developed the Energy Kiosk model and decided instead of just providing the community with a hydro
turbine, to develop a full fledged Energy Kiosk. Within a few months, with the help of the Kibae community, UNIDO could develop a
model Energy Kiosk.
The Energy Kiosk is powered by a 2.5 kW hybrid Solar PV cum Pico-hydro unit. This means that power is generated from 2
different renewable energy sources namely solar power and hydro power. The solar unit produces 500 W, while the hydro unit
consists of two 1 kW hydro turbines that produce 2000 W.
The Hydro unit is as illustrated below:
Water from powerhouse back
to the stream
Water from the local stream called Mukengeria, which originates from the slopes of Mt. Kenya is partly diverted through pipes and
directed to drive the two hydro turbines.
The electricity is evacuated to the energy kiosk by two feeder cables.
Once at the kiosk, the electricity is stabilized by a simple electrical charge and controller system as illustrated below.
Battery E INVERTER
S Stable Output
Unstable Input S To Applications
As seen, power from each independent feeder lines is fed to a battery charging unit where it charges deep cycle batteries. The
batteries then supply the power to an inverter system that gives a stable 240V 50 Hz power that is similar to the normal Kenyan grid
Therefore, the hydro systems which run 24 hrs a day are constantly charging the batteries, which in turn supply constant power to the
On the other hand, the solar panels are connected to a similar charge and control unit where batteries are charged and power drawn
when needed though an inverter system as illustrated below.
12V DC A
E Stable Output
Controller R INVERTER
At Kibae, the Energy Kiosk is mainly a Service Energy Kiosk. This is because the 2.5 kW power is not adequate enough for high
energy/power activities. Nonetheless, the services provided have a large and positive impact to this community.
Among the services provided include:
LED Lamp recharging facility
This is one of the main services provided by the Kiosk. Low energy consuming LED lamps are being introduced to the community.
These lamps are replacing kerosene lamps which are the main source of lighting for most rural communities in Kenya and the Kibae
community. These lamps have a big advantage over the kerosene lamps in that:
They offer clean non polluting light; thus they reduce indoor household pollution and contribute towards mitigation of global warming
by reducing CO2 production.
These lamps are also cheaper to operate than kerosene lamps.
A typical household with 3 kerosene lamps consumes at least 15 litres of kerosene per month, which at the current price of kerosene
at Ksh 65/litre, translates to Ksh 975/month for lighting alone!
Compare this to Ksh 20 for one recharge of one LED lamp battery and considering 1 recharge per week, this translates to 20x5
weeks which is Ksh 100 per month/lamp or Ksh 300/month for the household as the lighting expense.
Therefore, a family will save Ksh 675 per month on lighting and have brighter, cleaner, better quality and ready to light lamps.
The lamps have also been taken to the nearby Kiangwenyi primary school. These lamps are circulated among the students, whereby
each student gets a chance to carry the rechargeable lamps home for a week. The aim is to have students demonstrate to their
homes the new technology and hopefully have their parents buy the lamps later. At the same time, during this time, the students get
to enjoy the benefits of good quality lighting.
Other services offered include:
– Car battery recharging
– Mobile phone recharging
– Computer services and computer training.
– Internet services.
There is also a community center which has a Satellite TV and DVD video players. At this center, the community is able to access
worldwide news through international news networks such as BBC, CNN, SKY etc, apart from entertainment and sports coverage.
The center also makes money by charging a fee for videos/movies. The center will remain as a recreation and meeting place for the
Income to Energy Kiosk
The Energy Kiosk is projected to serve 300 households. Each household gets 3 LED lamps which they will charge as and when
required at the Energy Kiosk.
These households are expected to have around 200 mobile phones and 30 car batteries.
Estimated income per week from the energy kiosk is as follows:
Number No. of Charges Income per Total Income per
of Items per week charge (Ksh) week (Ksh)
LED Lamps 900 1 20 18,000
Mobile Phones 200 2 10 4,000
Car Batteries 30 1 50 1,500
Other Services 5,000
Total Income 28,500
As indicated above, the energy kiosk makes a good income and is sustainable.
The community plans to increase the services provided at the energy Kiosk.
• Hair Plaiting and clipping facility
• Photocopying and printing services.
• Mobile phone services like airtime sale and M-Pesa mobile money transfer.
• Fresh juice squeezing
The Energy Kiosk is projected to serve 300 households and if the services above are introduced, this can increase to over 750
households in about 3 months.
For more information: