SONG – a pioneering solar energy social enterprise

Providing sustainable energy to the poorest of communities.

Solar nano-grids (SONG) – installed as part of this UK Government-funded community project – are changing the lives of people in rural areas of Kenya and Bangladesh.

Existing solar energy systems have proved unsuitable and too expensive for many communities in low and lower-middle income countries.

Our team set out to assess the potential of SONG as an alternative way to provide clean-energy for households and micro-businesses – and has already transformed village life in Lemolo B, Kenya.

These small scale communal solar power systems which comprise a solar power unit connected to a cluster of several homes, have the potential to supply enough electricity for each household’s needs. They can also help generate an income for the community, through small-scale agricultural and commercial applications, including an M-Pesa money transfer hub and small store, and a large-scale egg incubator.

These innovations are building local capacity and developing replicable business models. For example, egg hatch rate has increased to 80%, generating greater income for reinvestment in the community. The community now manages the system with Sustainable Community Development Services (SCODE): it has an active energy committee and a team of community technicians trained to undertake maintenance and repairs.

Our project has attracted the attention and support of organisations worldwide who will support the ongoing development of community energy solutions.

Meet the Game Changers

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Professor Ed Brown

Professor of Global Energy Challenges

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Dr Richard Blanchard

Senior Lecturer in Renewable Energy

Dr Jon Cloke

Lecturer in Human Geography