PowerGen was founded in Nairobi, Kenya in 2011 on the basis of two simple ideas:
(1) All over the world, renewable technologies continue their ascent as the energy sources of the future.
(2) Africa is poised for enormous continued growth and innovation in the decades ahead.
PowerGen’s objective was to build an exciting and impactful business at the nexus of these two themes.
Our first realization was that in Africa there are no shortage of good ideas, but execution is key and can prevent transformative ideas from realizing their potential. So we set out to build a first-class executional business focused on engineering, design, procurement, and installation of kW-scale off-grid solar and wind power systems in East Africa.
“Over the course of 5 years, PowerGen installed hundreds of renewable energy systems across seven countries in East Africa, and built a team of more than 50 full-time professionals”
Through our engineering and installation business we learned a lot about what it takes to succeed in Africa, and a more granular understanding of what the region’s energy sector needs. We realized that our clean, off-grid power systems were great, but many people couldn’t benefit from them since the up front cost is significant. We then began looking at ways we could finance these assets in order to provide energy as a service, which led us into the world of micro-grids.
“We built our first micro-grid in 2013 in Zambia, and since then have installed dozens more across Kenya and Tanzania.”
Over the course of 5 years, PowerGen installed hundreds of renewable energy systems across seven countries in East Africa, and built a team of more than 50 full-time professionals focused on delivering exceptional off-grid power systems to the region.
We built our first micro-grid in 2013 in Zambia, and since then have installed dozens more across Kenya and Tanzania. Thousands of people benefit from the clean energy we sell to them on a pay-as-they-go basis throughout rural areas of East Africa.
But our micro-grid business isn’t just about increasing energy access – it’s also about leading the charge in implementing the future energy system of Africa. Africa, with its weak incumbent infrastructure, shouldn’t be aiming to build an energy system emulating that of the US or Europe today. Instead we must be focused on building the energy system of the future, converging on where the US and Europe will be decades from now.
What does this future energy system look like? It will involve on-grid storage, distributed generation, and smart metering. It will incorporate more intelligent tariffs and billing systems. It will be modular, acting more like a network composed of many semi-autonomous nodes rather than a monodirectional pipeline for commoditized electrons. Customers will be treated as customers for energy and other services, not just as ‘ratepayers’ that happen to be on the other end of a wire.
At PowerGen, we are focused on building the power utility company of the future which will allow Africa to make the leap to surpass the aging power models and infrastructure of the more developed world. As the leading micro-utility company in East Africa with dozens of projects in operation, we welcome friends and partners as we work together to make this vision a reality.