The goal is to green completely.

By Lisa Kahuthu, CLASP — Efficiency for Access Co-Secretariat

‘Our place is dry, but I can do something with it. With the manpower, knowledge and exposure that I have, I can change it.’

Despite an above-average rural electrification rate of 62.7% in Kenya, Mbinya’s home is one of many unserved by the national grid. Undaunted by the lack of grid access, Mbinya has invested in solar as an alternative power source for her home and farming projects. Additionally, if it were available to her, Mbinya would be wary of connecting to the national grid due to the costly energy bills — especially with recent electricity price hikes.

‘Now I want solar — pure solar…The goal is to go green completely.’

Mbinya’s solar-powered home and a section of her farm with recently planted papaya trees.

‘Now that my milling service is cheap; I have so many customers. They even buy maize from Kisiiki market centre (about 7km away) and come to mill it here instead of milling there.’

Mbinya checking her Agsol solar mill to confirm that the bag was well secured.

‘I would say it’s a good initiative for a village like this one where there’s no power and diesel is expensive. Having a solar mill changes our lifestyle and even the food — it is clean.’

An aspect of the solar mill that Mbinya thinks could be improved is that during overcast conditions, the mill runs out of power early in the day. As a result, she serves fewer customers at those times compared to when it is bright and sunny. Besides that, she’s satisfied with the mill and is happy that she can provide this service to her community. Mbinya’s friends and neighbours have expressed an interest in purchasing Agsol’s MicroMill — the only barrier being affordability. Despite her explaining the consumer financing option to them, people are still hesitant to commit to such a large expense.

From the left: Matt Carr (Agsol), Magdalene Mbinya, Silard Liptak (Agsol), Chris Beland (EforA) and Bejun Bakrania (EforA).

‘…the community really loves it (the mill service), and they appreciate it. They know that the food is clean and very nice.’

Adopting solar technologies like solar water pumps and mills boosts farmers’ productivity and saves them energy-related costs while avoiding carbon emissions. Efficiency for Access has been working with Agsol since 2018, both in research and R&D. The Efficiency for Access Research and Development Fund supported Agsol in two projects — the first project was to develop a MicroMill prototype and the second project involved further improvements to the prototype, including efficiency gains and improved affordability. The R&D Fund’s support has helped Agsol create a highly efficient, more affordable small grain mill with a strong product-market fit.



Field stories, research summaries, and solar appliance market trends from Efficiency for Access, a global coalition working to promote affordable, high-performing, and inclusive appliances that enable clean energy access for the world’s poorest people.

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Efficiency for Access

A global coalition to accelerate clean energy access through high-performing appliances