Sarah Mbwaya: How I discovered ardour and success in profitable solar power enterprise – The Customary

Sarah Mbwaya, managing director Aspectus Limited, a solar power agency. [Courtesy]

For Ms Sarah Mbwaya, the ultimate push to enterprise into the renewable energy enterprise got here after attending a solar power exhibition. At the occasion, she purchased some out of doors solar lights for her home.

Her neighbours and associates, impressed by the lights brightening her entrances and walkways, requested her to assist them get comparable ones.

This triggered her entrepreneurial spirit, coming at a time when she wanted a contemporary problem in her life.

She was acquainted with the sector as {an electrical} and electronics engineering graduate from the University of Nairobi.

Before this, she had spent years within the company world as an Information Technology (IT) skilled.

“I began doing my homework. As much as I have a technical background in the field, every business is unique,” Ms Mbwaya informed Enterprise of her begin in 2015.

She had up to now registered an organization that went dormant. The time to breathe a brand new life into Aspectus Ltd had come.

She is the agency’s managing director, supported by her daughter and co-founder, Maureen Iminza Mbwaya.

Back to highschool

For the agency to be licensed by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra) – then Energy Regulatory Authority – as a solar power enterprise, a skilled and licensed solar power technician was required.

“I started looking for guys and interviewing them. Majority said we would have to pay them at least a fee of Sh40,000 monthly just for the certificate and not for any work done,” mentioned Ms Mbwaya.

This prompted her to return to highschool and enroll for a brief course to safe a certificates as a solar power technician. It was considered one of her wisest enterprise choices she has ever taken.

“When my team designs, I’m able to look at the systems and ensure everything is in place,” she mentioned.

“It also makes it easier for me to have conversations with clients and answer their questions on the solution provided and what’s happening on the project site.”

Electricity is among the many largest expenditures for many companies and households and continues to rise. High power prices have led to extra adoption of energy-saving applied sciences.

This features a change to renewable energy owing to its reliability, decrease working price, and the necessity to turn out to be a part of a world motion within the combat in opposition to world warming and local weather change.

Aspectus allows off-grid prospects to have entry to electrical energy and people on the grid to learn from diminished prices in addition to regular power.

The agency’s power options embrace solar PV off-grid and on-grid techniques, out of doors lights for gardens, safety and streets, water heating and  pumping techniques.

“We customise the solutions to fit any budget while providing quality to our clients. Our products range from small home systems to large commercial systems,” the MD mentioned.

The agency additionally has renewable energy options to spice up agricultural produce akin to solar-powered meals dryers, egg incubators and cooling techniques.

The clientele is various together with off-grid accommodations, lodges and camps, establishments, home homeowners, farms and malls amongst others.

The agency companions with builders for options akin to water heaters and lighting the frequent areas. Key present tasks being accomplished by Aspectus embrace a solar challenge with Kings Developers for 72 solar water heaters for his or her block of residences alongside Hatheru Road, Nairobi.

Ms Mbwaya mentioned the agency is dealing with solar lighting in a challenge in Rongai with 700 homes.

Another ongoing challenge is one with a lodge in Diani, Ukunda (solar PV and solar water pumping) and two residential home solar PV in Kiambu and one in Nanyuki.

However, at the same time as extra folks clamour for renewable energy sources akin to solar, the change appears costly to many resulting from preliminary excessive price of set up.

Ms Mbwaya mentioned prices are falling owing to free obligation importation and zero-rated worth added tax on some renewable energy merchandise and equipment which can encourage extra folks to undertake solar.

“It’s the ones who return and say my bill has gone down by 30 to 40 per cent,” she mentioned of what provides her pleasure about her enterprise.

Connect extra folks

Solar power additionally ensures that extra individuals are linked to electrical energy and lower on use of soiled fuels akin to kerosene.

A examine by the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association, the worldwide affiliation for the off-grid solar energy business, confirmed that 94 per cent of individuals dwelling with off-grid solar home techniques reported enhancements to their high quality of life.

Ms Mbwaya’s profile is kind of spectacular, packing 30 years of engineering expertise with a robust give attention to techniques design, automation, enchancment and implementation.

She has served on a number of boards together with the Numerical Machining Complex and is an unbiased non-executive director of listed agency Limuru Tea.

She can also be the nation chairperson of African Women in Energy and Power, and a member of administration board of Friends of Conservation.

Her expertise allows her to barter offers, have options for purchasers and handle workers and cash.

“I want to sort out people’s problems and that client’s smile pushes me to make another client happy,” mentioned Ms Mbwaya.

Her agency has eight staff and places a whole lot into work not directly, together with sub-contractors and casuals.

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