Ariya Capital Group (Ariya) is an experienced fund manager that develops, structures, invests, and manages clean energy and infrastructure projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Ariya has partnered with African Solar Designs (ASD), a Kenya-based renewable and rural energy company, and Windfire, a UK-based renewable energy company that provides medium-scale Vertical Axis Wind Turbine solutions for the Distributed Renewable Energy (DRE) sector.
Agriculture is a cornerstone of Kenya’s economy, with horticulture and the export of flowers serving as a major employer. Energy is an important part of modern Kenyan agriculture, accounting for 15 percent of input costs. A lack of stable and available energy sources is an issue, which leads farmers to rely on expensive, polluting diesel generators as a backup source.
Ariya’s project will provide end to end cost-effective, low-risk renewable energy generation and energy efficiency services to local flower and horticulture farms in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. These services will be structured to minimize the up-front investment required by farmers. A mixed technology approach, using various DRE and energy efficiency solutions, will allow flexibility in designing energy systems tailored for each user.
The on-site power supply and management services provided by the project will enable flower farms and horticulture groups to displace grid power with renewable sources of power, leading to reduced energy costs and a reliable power supply not subject to load shedding or instability. By helping East African horticulture exporters to increase their bottom line, employees on their farms—ranging from 1,000 to 25,000 per farm and 50% women—and the associated local communities can benefit from greater job security and improved living standards. Other impacts include reduced carbon emissions, improved productivity, and reduced water usage resulting from farms using more sophisticated agriculture and horticulture techniques, and where legislation permits, the export of excess power to the grid or through micro-grid designs that permit supply to other local businesses and communities. Ariya will leverage Powering Agriculture’s investment to catalyze additional financing of 2.6 times the original award to install 20 systems totaling a minimum of 2.4MW over the life of the award period.
Ariya and its partner, ASD, have conducted a significant outreach effort to sensitize and educate farm directors, general managers, and others on the benefits of renewable energy, and to introduce the Ariya/ASD finance, installation, and operations and maintenance model. As part of the effort, three workshops were held in areas where there are clusters of floriculture and horticulture - Naivasha, Nanyuki and Athi River. Ariya has conducted feasibility studies of 30 of the 70 farms that it has shortlisted for consideration as potential recipients of the systems. Of the 30 farms, 19 are viable for systems and agreements have been signed for four systems. A qualified and local engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) contractor has been selected and local engineering companies have also been identified to provide the necessary monitoring systems and other ad hoc mechanical and engineering works.