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: 
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 Capital Group (Ariya) acts as the power partner for its clients, providing end to end cost-effective, low-risk renewable energy generation, storage, stabilization, and energy efficiency services to local flower and horticulture farms in East Africa with a focus on Kenya. Agriculture is a cornerstone of Kenya’s economy, horticulture and the export of flowers are major sources of employment, with energy costs accounting for 15 percent of the input costs. The services provided by Ariya are structured to minimize the up-front investment required by farmers. A mixed technology approach, using various distributed renewable energy (DRE) and energy efficiency solutions, allow flexibility in designing bespoke systems for each user. 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 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.

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 has commissioned eight systems as of October 2019, totaling over 680kW. On average the systems cover 37% of the clients’ energy consumption. All the installed systems are continuing to operate optimally with regular operations and maintenance support and reports being provided to the clients. The majority of Ariya’s customers employ more than 50% women. The systems include remote monitoring and are used for power pumping, refrigeration, lighting, irrigation, and fertilizer dispersal. 

While many farms have access to the national grid, Ariya’s systems ensure consistent, reliable power for their operations. Ariya has expanded its business model to become a holistic energy partner than a solely a solar PV developer. It will install PV arrays for customers who wish to generate their own electricity; it will install voltage stabilization, battery storage, or power factor capacitor banks for customers concerned with energy efficiency and demand charges; and it has teamed with with a Swedish solar thermal technology company, Absolicon, to work with customers who want to offset their firewood consumption. Ariya’s award has been extended to June 2020.

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.