Powering Agriculture with Renewable Energy

Innovator (Country of Incorporation): 
Kenya
Collaborators: 
Windfire Group (United Kingdom)
Location Applied: 
Clean Energy Source: 
Agricultural Focus: 
Product Segment: 
Year of Award: 
Financing Status: 
Organization: 

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.

Problem/Opportunity: 

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.

Clean Energy Solution: 

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.

Impact: 

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. Agriculture is a cornerstone of Kenya’s economy, with horticulture and the export of flowers serving as a major employers and energy costs accounting for 15 percent of input costs of Kenyan agriculture. 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.

Progress Update: 

Ariya commissioned their first systems in August 2017 totaling 200kWp, with installation of the third and fourth systems totaling 117kWp system to be commissioned by mid December 2017, and several others to follow in 2018. The systems are located on farms, include remote monitoring, and are used to power pumping, refrigeration, lighting, irrigation and fertilizer dispersal. While many farms have access to the national grid, the Ariya systems ensure consistent, reliable power for their operations. Ariya’s future plans include developing two business models: one that will target smaller clients (200-300kW) and one for larger clients (5 MW). The majority of Ariya’s horticulture customers employ more than 50% women. Following a number of tenders and expressions of interest Ariya has shortlisted three qualified engineering, procurement, and construction companies that they work with for the construction of the power plants.

Project News: 
Jun. 21, 2018

The impact investment sector looks for solutions that address social or environmental challenges. Ariya Capital provides cost-effective renewable energy generation and energy efficiency services to farmers with little up-front investment—a boon for farmers, the environment, and for investors.

Sep. 15 - 16, 2017

The Naivasha Horticultural Fair is Africa's biggest Horticultural fair. This event is in its 15th year and attracts an audience from across the continent and Europe. The event showcases products and services from stake-holders in the horticultural industry—primarily flower industry but also car manufacturers, accessories and financial institutions.