she shapes the city

Caroline Makenzi ~ Big Business


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Carol is convinced that it is big business, the industrial players, that are really going to make the difference for renewable energy in Kenya. She and her organization, African Solar Designs, recently won a grant from Powering Agriculture, an innovation challenge addressing the link between agricultural production and clean energy. Carol aims to bring solar energy to the flower producers in the country, a business which makes billions of Kenya shillings every year.

Flowers are exported in vast quantities from Kenya to Europe and the suppliers face pressure both in terms of profitability and green credentials. Carol believes that solar energy is the silver bullet that the industry is looking for. Power bills count for 15% of flower producers’ overheads and the growers have to deal with frequent power outages. Solar power will offer an opportunity to cut costs, take control of energy consumption all whilst using a clean form of electricity. For Carol adoption of solar by big commercial exporters is more than a financial opportunity, support from these influential companies will exert pressure on the government to move forward with regulations that will promote renewable energy. There is one such bill awaiting approval in Parliament as we speak.

It was an internship in Germany that persuaded Carol, a student in mechatronics engineering, that that solar energy held a vast potential for Kenya. She studied at a university which was looking at 3rd generation tech renewable energies And saw first hand “what we could do with solar engineering if it’s fully tapped”. Carol believes she’s in the best position to take advantage of this opportunity. She explains “our model is business to business. We feel that’s where we’ll make the biggest impact and the highest consumers of energy in this country are the industrial players. We want to impact the economy in a bigger way and much faster and we feel that this change will be brought by about by the private sector.”

Caroline wears a Kiko Romeo dress, Le Collane di Betta earrings and neclaces, and umbrella by Tengevuli.


  1. Mike Mutuku

    I have done water project on diesel power, Kpl&c but the benefits from solar power, stands above all, go on Carol.


  2. Freddie

    This is what we need Carol in Africa at large especially coming from an African woman. The sky is the limit Carol, think of other countries to expand your business, commenting this a Zimbabwean, I truly think that you need to consider expanding such projects to as far as Zimbabwe. The country faces a lot of power outages yet farmers are always on gear with love and passion to produce an anticipated yield without disturbance of each and every level of production, well done.


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