Naomi had never heard of a solar hybrid mini grid before it was set up in her town but it has changed her life and source of livelihood. A solar minigrid is small solar power plant that is able to support a community, independently of the national power grid. These plants, set up by private companies, offer electricity for remote towns which are not served by the national power company.
Naomi grew up in Nairobi but she moved to the rural town of Talek with her husband and young son a few years ago. With its proximity to the famous Masai Mara game reserve Talek offered promising business opportunities to cater to tourists travelling through. For Naomi though it was an adjustment because the town had no power, she was unable to use basic electrical goods such as a fridge and in the evenings she was forced to go to bed as soon as darkness fell. Naomi started up a household store, supplying the town’s residents with the basic items they needed for their homes but business was relatively slow.
The development of the power plant offered Naomi new options and on the side of her business she set up a new beauty salon. Beauty treatments, which previously were only available miles away in the nearest town centre, were now available on her neighbours’ door step. The business boomed and has been so successful that Naomi is considering selling up and shutting down her household supplies to focus on her beauty treatments. Naomi has not been the only one impacted by the solar grid, since it’s development 4 new hotels have been set up and the local bank can now offer extended services to its customers.
To other Kenyans considering a solar grid for their town Naomi’s message is simple “people need to speak to the institution that brought us power so that they also have the electricity extended to them. Our lives have changed.”
Naomi wears a Kiko Romeo dress.