Partnership to Tap Solar For Research and Energy Transition

From left to right: Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, Mr. Hiroshi Miki, Dr. Emmanuel Mutisya and Mr. Sakata Izumi during the cooperation agreement signing

As leaders drawn from Africa and beyond concluded the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) inked a partnership agreement with two Japanese corporates to implement a solar-based project aimed at supporting agricultural research and green energy transition at the University.

Known as agrovoltaics, the use of solar to grow crops has proven effective in safeguarding the environment, boosting food production and fostering green energy transition and development. This is particularly important in the backdrop of the debilitating effects of climate change which has disproportionately affected developing countries like Kenya.

Through the project, JKUAT will work with OSA Japan and Sustainergy Japan, to construct a solar farm with capacity to incrementally produce up to one megawatt of electricity in the next five years.

Researchers from the university will leverage the solar farm to undertake targeted multidisciplinary research on optimal crop production conditions. It is aimed at generating new agricultural practices that are sustainable, and can provide quick wins in the battle to save the planet. It is modelled on the: no tillage, no fertilizer, no pesticide concept.

Speaking when she welcomed the project partners to the University on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi said JKUAT had amplified sustainability research through its specialised institutes and research projects.

She noted that the Institute of Energy and Environment Technology (IEET) has particularly been active in conducting teaching, research, and technology transfer related to renewable energy sources, encompassing solar and wind energy.

Prof. Ngumi added that JKUAT values partnerships with industries that can translate into practical solutions to the challenges facing the modern world, including climate change.

President OSA Japan, Mr. Sakata Izumi said his company was happy to work with JKUAT which has a long-standing collaboration history with Japanese institutions. The university, he noted, had proven quite capable in rolling out technical solutions to many societal challenges – thereby making it a natural partner.

Mr. Hiroshi Miki from Sustainergy said JKUAT was a natural partner for his firm’s entry into Kenya and the region. He added that the disruptions associated with Covid-19 pandemic and climate change had created an urgent need for joint action to countervail the ensuing societal challenges.

Dr. Emmanuel Mutisya from the OSA Kenya office lauded the partnership; characterising it as a platform to generate climate-friendly solutions that can be tapped to achieve the aspirations of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The partnership is only the latest effort by JKUAT to harness research and technology transfer in climate adaptation and mitigation.

The partnership signing ceremony was witnessed by Deputy Vice Chancellors – Prof. Robert Kinyua (Academic Affairs), Prof. Jackson Kwanza (Research, Production and Extension); IEET Director, Prof. Joseph Kamau.

The teams from the three partner institutions shortly after the cooperation signing

Comments are closed.