Kenya: Partnership for installation of solar-desalination systems in Kitui

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Climate Fund Managers (CFM), a leading boutique investment manager dedicated to securing a sustainable future through impactful investing, and Solar Water Solutions (SWS), a water technology company that designs and manufactures decentralized solar-powered water purification systems, have announced a partnership to co-finance and co-develop solar-powered desalination systems in Kitui, a county in the South East region of Kenya.

Under the partnership, CFM through its Climate Investor Two (CI2) fund will initially co-finance a piloting phase for these initiatives and later co-finance the full roll-out of up to 200 units that are expected to benefit at least 400,000 Kenyan citizens.

An overview of the proposed systems

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The proposed installations will consist of a mobile container housing reverse osmosis water treatment, solar panels, and a ‘water ATM’ that will allow citizens to purchase high-quality water using their mobile phones. The installations are designed to run only on renewable energy without the use of battery storage or electricity from the grid.

Upon completion, it is estimated that the installations will have the capacity to desalinate over 1,500m3 of brackish water per day, and produce over one GWh per year of self-supporting clean energy to power the systems.

The project is co-developed by the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD), through its Origination Facility, which is managed by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, a not-for-profit international development organization, working in Agriculture, Energy, and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene sectors.

Alleviation of the lack of access to high-quality drinking water in Kitui County

According to DFCD, Kitui County is highly vulnerable to the ongoing effects of the global climate crisis. Many wells that are used to provide drinking water in the area contain salts and fluoride, rendering the water unsafe for direct consumption.

“The solar-powered desalination systems project aims to remove these substances from the abstracted groundwater and alleviate the lack of access to high-quality drinking water,” noted DFCD.