NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Three years ago when he wanted to buy four 50MW
solar security lamps, Albert Kyalo, a homeowner living in
Kitengela, found the costs so exorbitant that he gave up.
Last Friday, however, Kyalo was a happy man after buying two
security lights at pocket-friendly prices that he never thought
"I had even given up on solar lighting but I passed by an
electronic shop in the suburb, and saw one of the lights on
"When I inquired about the price, they were less than half of
what I had been told three years ago," he recounted on Tuesday.
Then, Kyalo had been asked to part with 20,000 shillings (196
U.S. dollars) for each of the lamps that come with a small solar
Last week, however, the home-owner bought the gadgets at an
equivalent of 93 dollars each, less than half of what he had
been asked to pay in 2016.
"I bought the made-in-China lights, which come with a remote
control, a sensor, an inbuilt battery and a small solar panel.
"I fitted them on my house at the weekend and would buy two
more next month," he said.
Kyalo is among an increasing number of Kenyans who are
turning to affordable solar lights to cut power costs or deal
And they have the perfect solar solutions in the products
made in China, which are pocket-friendly, innovative and
The Chinese-made products are slowly taking over the Kenyan
solar market, thanks to their affordability.
solar panels, to torches, bulbs, radios, TVs and security
lights, the products are readily available across the east
African nation, including in market centers in villages.
"I sell an 8MW solar floodlight at 48 dollars, a 50MW light
from 93 dollars to 117 dollars and 100MW at 196 dollars.
"All these products are made in China and myself I source
them directly from the manufacturer," said Calvin Nderitu, a
dealer in Luthuli Avenue in Nairobi, on Tuesday.
Since he sources directly from manufacturers, Nderitu said he
offers his customers a one-year warranty and can replace lights
"I give a one-year warranty, so in case the gadget has a
problem during the period, you can return it back, I give you
another one as I follow up with the manufacturer," said Nderitu.
The businessman also sells indoor solar lighting solutions,
ones that come with a battery, a torch, a small solar panel and
three bulbs, at 34 dollars each.
"One of the bulbs you put in the sitting room, the other in
the bedroom and the other in the kitchen or children’s room.
"You can see how the wires are longer to ensure that the
lights can serve you better," Nderitu said as he sold this
writer the gadget.
In the building where his shop is located, there are three
other shops that sell solar-power and electrical gadgets, mostly
imported from China.
Things are not any different on the other streets across the
road and suburbs in Nairobi, where electrical gadget shops are
thriving, thanks to Chinese imports.
By buying the solar-powered security lights, Kyalo said, he
was hoping to save up to 24.5 dollars in power bills a month.
"The last two months I paid an electricity bill of 60
dollars, which was a sharp rise from the previous months. I
followed up with the utility company and I was told it was the
"This is the reason I thought of the solar lamps after the
three years only to find things are good," he said.
Latest data from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics showed
that electricity costs have risen in Kenya considerably, with
families that were consuming 100KWh now parting with 24.5
dollars, up from 19.6 dollars, while those consuming 50KWh are
now paying 9.8 dollars, up from 6.6 dollars.
Besides homes, other facilities embracing solar to cut costs
are hotels, office blocks, schools, churches and health centers.
Ernest Manuyo, a business management lecturer at Pioneer
Institute in Nairobi, noted that Kenya’s location across the
equator gives it a great opportunity to develop a vibrant solar
energy sector, as prices of solar-power harvesting products
According to Manuyo, the use of solar energy, hindered in the
past by costs, is now growing, with homes and hotels leading in
its use for lighting, heating and drying.